A diabetes pill being developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. treated patients effectively in a late-stage trial, researchers said Monday, suggesting it could compete with Merck & Co.'s already approved Januvia, a similar treatment.
The favorable results for the experimental drug saxagliptin were seen in a Phase III trial involving 743 patients with Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease. Type 2 typically develops in adulthood and is linked strongly to obesity.
Bristol-Myers, which will sell saxagliptin in partnership with London-based drug maker AstraZeneca if it is approved, plans to seek U.S. marketing approval next year.
The results of the trial, which were statistically significant for all doses of saxagliptin, were presented at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Assn. in Chicago.
Effectiveness was similar to that seen with Januvia in Merck's own separate trials, although saxagliptin and Januvia have not been compared in head-to-head studies, Bristol-Myers said.
Januvia is one of Merck's fastest-growing products and is expected to be a major driver of the company's earnings growth in the next few years.