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Sanofi-Aventis launch new short-acting insulin competitor Apidra

Published on 13/10/05 at 04:56pm

Apidra, a new short-acting insulin analogue, has been launched in the UK by Sanofi-Aventis.

Short-acting analogues have a faster onset of action than traditional insulins, and two established products in the class, Lilly's Humalog (insulin lispro) and Novo Nordisk's NovoRapid (insulin aspart), are already blockbusters selling in excess of $1 billion worldwide.

Sanofi-Aventis has launched Apidra (insulin glulisine) with data from a head-to-head with Humalog demonstrating a superior profile for the new product.

Trial data showed type II diabetes patients taking Apidra experienced lower maximal glucose excursions and higher plasma insulin levels compared with patients on Humalog.

The study also showed Apidra had a faster onset of action in patients, whether they were lean, overweight or obese, in comparison to a traditional short-acting insulin and Humalog.

"Weight loss is an integral part of management plans for people with type II diabetes; despite this many remain overweight," commented Prof Tony Barnett, Birmingham Heartlands Hospital.

"While all rapid-acting insulin analogues improve glucose control, insulin glulisine has been shown to maintain its rapid onset of action and rapid acting properties over a range of BMI and subcutaneous fat thicknesses, which is particularly important in this group."

In the UK, Novo Nordisk's NovoRapid is the biggest selling of the two products already on the market, earning 22.6 million pounds in primary care in England in 2004, representing a 50% rise in sales from the previous year.

In comparison, sales of Humalog were virtually static in England last year, rising marginally to 13.6 million pounds.

Short-acting insulin analogues are prescribed in conjunction with long-acting insulin analogues, and Sanofi-Aventis has a market leader in this class with Lantus.

The product doubled its sales in 2004 in England, earning 33.6 million pounds in primary care prescriptions.

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