Lilly says new insulin fares better than rival’s in late-stage tests

Eli Lilly and Co. plans to seek approval early next year for a new insulin it developed after the diabetes treatment fared better than the competition in two late-stage clinical studies.

The Indianapolis-based drugmaker said Thursday that peglispro produced statistically significant lower blood sugar levels in patients when compared to people who took the Sanofi insulin Lantus in two late-stage studies of people with type 1 diabetes.

Lantus garnered $7.8 billion in sales for Paris-based Sanofi in 2013.

Peglispro is a basal or background insulin that patients take along with shorter-acting mealtime insulin to help control diabetes, a chronic condition in which the body either does not make enough insulin to break down the sugar in foods or uses insulin inefficiently.

Lilly is studying peglispro as a once daily, injectable treatment for type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

In type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, the body does not use insulin properly. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. In those cases, the body does not produce insulin.

Demand for diabetes treatments is surging globally as the prevalence of obesity explodes. The World Health Organization has estimated that roughly 347 million people worldwide have the disease, which can lead to blindness, strokes, heart disease or death.

Lilly said it remains on track to seek approval from regulators for the insulin by the end of next year's first quarter.

The drugmaker's shares rose 11 cents to $64.26 in morning trading Thursday, while broader trading indexes also rose slightly.

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