Lilly Diabetes Medicine Meets Goal in Three Studies

Eli Lilly & Co.’s experimental once-weekly diabetes drug dulaglutide helped patients control their diabetes better than older treatments in three large studies.

The medicine met its primary goal in reducing hemoglobin A1c, a measurement of blood sugar control, Indianapolis-based Lilly said today in a statement. In one study it worked better than Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and AstraZeneca Plc’s Byetta and in another it beat Merck & Co.’s Januvia, the company said.

Lilly said it plans to seek U.S. approval in 2013 for the drug, which mimics the function of a digestive hormone that stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin after meals. The studies were from the final stage of testing generally needed for U.S. approval.

If approved, the drug would compete with products on the market and in testing by Bristol-Myers, AstraZeneca, Novartis AG, GlaxoSmithKline Plc, and Sanofi. Dulaglutide could have $500 million in sales by 2018, estimated Steve Scala, a Cowen & Co. analyst in Boston, earlier this month.

Lilly fell 1.1 percent to $52.28 at the close of New York trading.

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