Next Generation Treatments Now Available

by Mark Benson on January 31, 2012

New updated drug approved

A new generation of diabetes treatments would soon become available in the market. Last Friday, Amylin Pharmaceuticals new drug, Bydureon has been awarded approval by the Food and Drug Administration for sale to the public. This new drug would replace the company’s current medication named Byetta.

The new drug is a weekly version of Byetta. In its original form, Byetta was taken twice a day to manage blood glucose levels. Byetta on the other hand would just be taken once a week with the same results. According to company executives, this new drug would provide a competitive advantage in the very tough diabetes drug market. The drug experienced multiple delays and during testing, the drug has shown even better results compared to other drugs in the market.

The drug had undergone two previous rejections from the government regulatory agency. The first rejection was in 2010, after reports have found that the drug affected the heart’s rhythm. The rejection had cost the company tremendously, with share values falling more than fifty percent. It also precipitated the demise of the partnership between Amylin and Eli Lilly and Co, with Amylin paying Eli $250 million as well as full responsibility for both Byetta and Bydureon.

With the approval, many commercial analysts say that the drug would generate nearly a billion dollars in sales every year until 2016. In order to turn a profit, the drug needs to post sales totaling $1.2 billion per year. This is due to the long term debt of Amylin amounting to two billion dollars and their current operating cash amounts to only $210 million.

The drug is part of the GLP-1 class of drugs, which helps the body increase its insulin production. Type 2 diabetics are unable to metabolize carbohydrates, the bodies cannot produce enough insulin and the body becomes resistant to the hormone. This hormone helps manage the blood sugar levels, when left unchecked would lead to greater risk for heart attacks, kidney problems, nerve problems and other complications. In order to control blood sugar levels, many diabetics take multiple drugs that affect different aspects of the disease on the body.

The major competition for Bydureon is Novo Nordisk’s Victoza. This drug was approved by the FDA last January 2010. Comparatively, Bydureon was able to lower blood sugar levels but they were lower as against Victoza. The active ingredients of Bydureon act differently compared to how Victoza acts on the diabetic’s body.

Another major factor would be the cost. The twice a day Byetta would cost only $291 per month while Bydureon would cost $323 per month.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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