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Sanofi: New Diabetes Drug Shown To Work As Well As Byetta

French drugs maker Sanofi SA(SNY) said trial data showed its experimental once-a-day drug for Type 2 diabetes, lixisenatide, worked as well as Byetta, a similar drug sold by Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. (AMLN) and Eli Lilly and Co (LLY) that is injected twice daily. The trial lasted 24 weeks and involved 634 people whose diabetes was not controlled by orally-taken medicines or by using basal insulin. In it, lixisenatide, whose brand name is Lyxumia, met the main goal of showing non-inferiority compared with Byetta, also known as exenatide, in terms of controlling blood sugar, with less risk of low blood sugar, Sanofi said in a statement. The French company also said that mean body weight significantly decreased from baseline in the lixisenatide group compared with the exenatide group, while adverse side effects were generally equal between the two groups. Another study comparing lixisenatide against placebo showed that a once-daily dose of lixisenatide in combination with basal insulin improved blood sugar control in Asian Type 2 diabetes patients. Results of the trials were presented at the current American Diabetes Association's 71st Scientific Sessions (ADA) in San Diego, California. Lixisenatide and exenatide belong to the GLP-1 class of drugs that stimulate insulin release when glucose levels become too high. Sanofi licensed lixisenatide from Denmark's Zealand Pharma (ZEAL.KO). The treatment could become a blockbuster, helping Sanofi reach its goal of becoming the world's top diabetes treatment company. -By Sten Stovall, Dow Jones Newswires; +44 207 842 9292; sten.stovall@dowjones.com

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