Eli Lilly/Boehringer Ingelheim--LY2605541

When combined, Eli Lilly ($LLY) and Boehringer Ingelheim have a mammoth diabetes pipeline. Lilly has four programs in Phase III development, covering several of the hot drug classes attracting attention from pharma. And expectations are high for the diabetes franchise at Lilly, a longtime insulin maker that has fallen behind rivals such as Sanofi ($SNY) and Novo Nordisk ($NVO) in recent years.

Lilly's featured novel basal insulin analog, LY2605541, gives the company and its partner BI a potential long-acting insulin option to compete with Sanofi's Lantus. Lilly and BI have taken aim at the $5 billion-plus seller, presenting data from a pair of midstage studies in June that showed increased glycemic control compared with Lantus as well as a weight-loss benefit. Late-stage data are expected to follow next year, with the potential for a blockbuster approval in 2014.

Yet the partners' deep roster of diabetes candidates offers multiple options for patients. The tandem is also in late-stage development of another basal insulin analog from Lilly called LY2963016 and an SGLT2 inhibitor from BI known as empagliflozin. Lilly is also banking on a once-weekly GLP-1 analog called dulaglutide to replace sales of similar products from Amylin after Lilly ended a long-standing collaboration last year with the San Diego-based biotech.   

The GLP-1 drugs have become an important new class of diabetes therapies, which boost insulin secretion to help patients control their blood sugar.

"Obviously, having four unique assets in Phase III development for a single disease state, in this case diabetes, we think is evidence of a very successful discovery and development program," Dr. David Kendall, a senior medical adviser in Lilly's diabetes unit, told FierceBiotech. "We see this as filling out a portfolio of assets that should be available to a broad array of diabetes patients, and this isn't a single compound that will require singular attention."

Lilly and BI's alliance has already borne fruit with approvals of Tradjenta, an oral med from BI that gives the partners a rival to Merck's blockbuster Januvia and other DPP-4 inhibitors at various stages of development.

For more:
Lilly takes aim at blockbuster Lantus with promising PhII diabetes drug data
J&J, Lilly and Boehringer tout data on SGLT2 drugs for diabetes

Drug: LY2605541

Mechanism: Insulin

Phase: III

Drug: Empagliflozin

Mechanism: SGLT2

Phase: III

Drug: LY2963016

Mechanism: Insulin

Phase: III

Drug: Dulaglutide

Mechanism: GLP-1

Phase: III


Eli Lilly/Boehringer Ingelheim--LY2605541

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