Roche' and Ipsen are celebrating more positive late-stage data on their once-weekly glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogue taspoglutide for type 2 diabetes.

The Swiss major says that a Phase III study, called T-emerge 3, met its primary endpoint of change in blood glucose levels (HbA1C). The trial, which enrolled 326 patients, compared two doses of taspoglutide to placebo as add-on treatment to metformin and Takeda’s Actos (pioglitazone).

The results of T-emerge 3 showed that taspoglutide demonstrated superiority in HbA1c change versus placebo following 24 weeks of treatment. This trial is the sixth of eight to meet its primary goal and the first five compared the drug with current standards of care, including Sanofi-Aventis’ Lantus (insulin glargine), Merck & Co’s Januvia (sitagliptin) and Eli Lilly/Amylin’s GLP-1 analogue Byetta (exenatide).

Roche licensed taspoglutide from Ipsen in 2006, except in Japan where the rights are shared with Teijin and in France where Ipsen may retain co-marketing rights. The companies hope that the drug will be able to compete with Novo Nordisk’s GLP-1 analogue Victoza (liraglutide), which is now available in the USA and Europe, and the Basel-based group has predicted that taspoglutide will be a blockbuster.

Meantime, Roche and partner OSI Pharmaceuticals say that the European Commission has granted expanded approval for its blockbuster Tarceva (erlotinib) for the maintenance treatment of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer whose disease has remained stable following platinum-based therapy. A similar approval was granted by the US Food and Drug Administration earlier this month.