New Diabetes Drugs Galvus and Januvia impress with Limited Side Effects
Reprinted with permission from Amy Tenderich of www.diabetesmine.com.
Wherefore Art Thou, Galvus and Januvia?
Are they not like the names of some star-crossed Shakespearean lovers? (the handsome, wistful Galvus persues the unobtainable Januvia...)
Well, get over it, 'cause these two new diabetes drugs are up-and-coming "blockbusters," expected to create as much excitement as Exubera and Byetta -- which is strange, actually, since these two of the Dramatic Names are just more pills for supressing insulin resistance.
But the New York Times says: "Wall Street analysts are bullish about Galvus and Januvia, predicting that each drug could have annual sales as high as $2 billion."
Especially if admittedly, Galvus and Januvia -- from Novartis and Merck respectively -- "do not appear to be quite as potent at lowering blood sugar as metformin"?
From what I gather, it's the lack of common side effects that accompany use of other oral drugs (sulfonylureas) for Type 2 diabetes, especially weight gain and risk of hypoglycemia.
Galvus and Januvia are the first in a new class of oral diabetes medications, called DDP-4 inhibitors (sometimes called gliptins), designed to enhance the body's natural system of lowering blood glucose. They do this by raising the levels of a naturally occurring hormone, called GLP-1, released in the stomach and intestines during eating. This hormone causes the pancreas to produce more insulin while simultaneously discouraging the liver from producing sugar.
Sounds good. Both drugs are being reviewed by the FDA now.
And make no mistake, my friends, this is not just pretty poetry. This is high-stakes jousting here ... 'cause what's at stake is the global diabetes drug market, worth $15 billion this year and projected to reach $25 billion by 2011 (according to my buddy over at CNN Money).
My favorite quote from that story is this:
"It's Coke versus Pepsi, but they'll try to differentiate on some clinical points," says analyst Les Funtleyder. "It's going to be a marketing war."
With such lovely (as morning dew) brand names, it's too bad you won't be hearing them in the same sweet breath...
Published On: September 14, 2006