Lilly unveils promising data from dual-action diabetes drug

Eli Lilly’s investigational diabetes drug has shown early promise as a possible aid to overcoming obesity in trial results announced this week.

The results of a phase 2b stage of the trial showed that the drug, a dual GIP and GLP-1 receptor agonist (GIP/GLP-1 RA, LY3298176) elicited strong and clinically meaningful blood sugar reduction and weight loss in people with type 2 diabetes.

Gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP) is a weak inhibitor of gastric acid secretion, although its main role is to stimulate insulin secretion, while glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) also works by stimulating production of insulin to reduce blood sugar.

This means the dual action medicine could take its place as a strong competitor to Novo Nordisk’s GLP-1 drug Ozempic (semaglutide).

Data showed that Lilly’s drug helped people who have type 2 diabetes to lose weight, reporting an average reduction of up to 11.3 kg (12.7%).

These results were revealed at this year’s Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Berlin and simultaneously published in The Lancet.

Dr Juan Frias, president and principal investigator, National Research Institute, said: “These phase 2b clinical trial results for GIP/GLP-1 RA are unprecedented, and the impressive blood glucose and weight reductions seen may lead to a new treatment option for people with type 2 diabetes.

“The next wave of innovation in the study of incretins for treating type 2 diabetes is fascinating. We’re taking the already proven benefits of GLP-1 receptor agonists and looking at a new molecule that integrates GIP action to see what additional benefits are possible.”

The next step is for Lilly to conduct a phase 3 clinical trial, dubbed the SURPASS programme. The drug’s safety and efficacy for treating type 2 diabetes will be studied next year, with a mooted completion date of late 2021.

The company is evaluating next steps in the study of GIP/GLP-1 RA for obesity and other conditions.

Last month, Novo Nordisk shared the results of its phase 3 PIONEER 10 trial of semaglutide, which showed greater reductions in HbA1c and body weight with an oral semaglutide drug treatment than with Trulicity.

AstraZeneca is also developing a drug, MEDI0382, which helps with weight loss as well as treating the symptoms of type 2 diabetes, working on both GLP-1 and glucagon receptors.

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