Drug given once a week lowered HbA1c more than Byetta administered twice a day.

Roche reports that its type 2 diabetes drug, taspoglutide, showed better reduction of HbA1c levels compared to Lilly’s Byetta. The Phase III T-EMERGE 2 trial is the first in Roche’s late-stage program for taspoglutide.

The study involved 1,189 patient and compared the effects of once-weekly taspoglutide, a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonist, with twice-daily Byetta. Roche’s T-EMERGE Phase III program will include about 6,000 patients in total. Of the eight trials, four have active comparators including Byetta, sitagliptin, insulin glargine, and pioglitazone.

Roche exercised its taspoglutide licensing option from Ipsen in 2006. Under the terms of the deal, Roche has exclusive rights to develop and market the drug worldwide, except in Japan, where rights are shared with Teijin, and in France, where Ipsen has retained co-marketing rights.

Lilly reported Byetta-related revenues of $115.8 million during the third quarter, up 6% on the same period last year. $77.8 million of the total related to revenues from the company’s Byetta partnership with Amylin Pharmaceuticals. Direct product sales by Lilly amounted to $38 million.

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