ORLANDO, Fla.—Locked in a tight market share race with Novo Nordisk’s Victoza, Trulicity is a key drug for Eli Lilly as patent expirations and competition take a toll. This weekend at the American Diabetes Association’s annual meeting, the company presented data it hopes will give its med an edge over rivals in the GLP-1 class.
In a retrospective study tapping U.S. claims data, investigators found that Trulicity patients stayed on treatment longer and were better at taking it as directed than patients on Novo’s Victoza and AstraZeneca’s Bydureon. Plus, Trulicity patients gained better control over their blood sugar compared with those on Victoza and Bydureon, at both the six-month and one-year marks, investigators said.
As a retrospective study, though, it has its limits. One is that the claims data don’t include reasons for patients discontinuing treatment, Brad Woodward, senior medical director of Lilly Diabetes, told FiercePharma.
“These are important data that will help prescribers understand the real-world experience of how long patients stay on GLP-1 receptor agonist therapies, and they can make those comparisons for what might be the appropriate medication for their patients,” he said.
As patent expirations hit revenues at Eli Lilly—and competition in diabetes continues to force big discounts from the company—Trulicity is among a group of newer meds carrying big expectations. After an approval in 2014, the drug’s sales grew to more than $2 billion last year, leading Lilly’s new products. Among the patent expirations Eli Lilly needs to overcome with new drug launches are blockbuster erectile dysfunction drug Cialis, plus ADHD drug Strattera and blood thinner Effient.
According to a recent note from Evercore ISI analyst Josh Schimmer detailing prescription tracking data, Trulicty and Victoza were running head-to-head in the market share race for GLP1 meds as of the end of April, with Bydureon trailing. Novo has a newly launched weekly contender in Ozempic, however, and it’s racking up data for a potential 2020 approval of an oral treatment that would be the class’ first.