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Takeda’s Diabetes Drug as Effective as Older Treatment

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.’s experimental diabetes drug lowered blood sugar as much as an older generic medicine with fewer side effects, a company-sponsored study found.

In a trial of 426 patients with Type 2 diabetes, TAK-875 reduced blood sugar below a pre-determined level in as much as 48 percent of those receiving it after 12 weeks, compared with 40 percent of those who got glimepiride, the older drug, according to findings published online by The Lancet medical journal today. The research was presented in June at the American Diabetes Association’s annual meeting in San Diego.

Takeda is testing TAK-875 in the third and final stage of patient studies usually required for regulatory approval. The Osaka, Japan-based company seeks products to replace sales of Actos, the world’s best-selling diabetes treatment, that will be lost when the therapy’s patent protection ends this year.

About 90 percent of the 285 million people worldwide with diabetes have Type 2, the form that TAK-875 is designed to fight. The pill belongs to a new class of treatments called GPR40 agonists, which activate a receptor that stimulates and regulates insulin production.

New treatments are needed because of “the expected increase in the number of cases of Type 2 diabetes during the next few decades” and because some current drugs have “insufficient effect,” the researchers, led by Charles Burant at the University of Michigan Medical School, wrote in the study.

About 2 percent of those receiving TAK-875 in the trial developed hypoglycemia, a complication in which blood sugar is lowered too much, compared with 19 percent of those receiving glimepiride, the researchers wrote. About half of the TAK-875 group experienced an adverse side effect of any kind, compared with 61 percent of those in the glimepiride group.

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