Byetta to see competition, at least in the short-term


SAN FRANCISCO The type 2 diabetes drug Byetta may have competition in 2009 that will jump ahead of it sales, but it won’t last long according to industry analysts.

Novo Nordisk late last month filed an application with the Food and Drug Administration for a once-daily treatment for Type 2 diabetes, liraglutide. The drug is expected to hit the market in early 2009 and, shortly thereafter, overtake Amylin Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly’s Byetta in sales. Byetta had sales last year of $636 million in the U.S.

Both companies, however, have been working on a once-daily version of Byetta, which they hope to seek approval for in 2009 and to launch sometime in 2010.

Byetta will need a new version to help regain its dominance on the market especially after Novo released study results yesterday that showed liraglutide worked better at controlling blood sugar levels than Byetta.

Of the 464 people in the study, those treated with liraglutide showed a 1.1 percent decrease in HbA1c levels, as compared with a 0.8 percent decrease in patients on Byetta. It also showed that the liraglutide group lost more weight over the course of the 26 weeks.

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