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Lilly wins FDA approval of new kind of diabetes drug

0 2 years ago

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved Eli Lilly’s diabetes drug Mounjaro, a first-of-its-kind treatment that can help control patients’ blood sugar and, potentially, help them lose weight as well.

Mounjaro, also known as tirzepatide, expands Lilly’s diabetes business, which includes insulins as well as other types of therapies. The company recorded $9 billion in diabetes drugs sales last year.

Mounjaro works by stimulating two hormones, called GLP-1 and GIP, that control insulin production. In clinical testing, the drug outperformed several other diabetes medicines, including one made by rival drugmaker Novo Nordisk that only acts on one hormone. Mounjaro was more effective in controlling blood sugar than two types on insulin as well.

“Given the challenges many patients experience in achieving their target blood sugar goals, today’s approval of Mounjaro is an important advance in the treatment of type 2 diabetes,” said Patrick Archdeacon, associate director of the diabetes division in FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, in a statement.

Like Trulicity and other drugs in its class, Mounjaro’s most common side effects are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems. The company did not announce Mounjaro’s price and did not respond to BioPharma Dive’s questions by publication.

The drug’s approval will heighten competition between Lilly and Novo, which have battled for market share in the U.S. for years. Novo, for instance, has recently had success by launching a similar, once-weekly shot to Lilly’s top-selling drug Trulicity, as well as a daily pill that works the same way.

Novo is testing a dual-acting competitor to tirzepatide, but it’s only in Phase 2 testing, well behind Lilly’s drug. Both companies are also trying to develop a once-weekly insulin shot, with similar programs in Phase 3 development.

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