Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca have completed their deal with Eli Lilly to take over the commercialisation of diabetes drug exenatide - in the forms Byetta and Bydureon - in the UK.

B-MS and AZ formed an alliance in 2007 to research, develop and commercialise select investigational drugs for type 2 diabetes. The addition of exenatide to this alliance means that it now houses five medications across four different classes of medicines for the disease, "offering a broad range of treatments to healthcare professionals", the firms said.

Exenatide is a member of the GLP-1 receptor agonist class of drugs, which work by stimulating insulin secretion from the pancreas, suppressing glucagon secretions when necessary, and increasing satiety, which can reduce food intake and slow gastric emptying in patients with type II diabetes.

"As the incidence of type II diabetes continues to rise worldwide, there is an increasing need for a range of treatment options and GLP-1s are an important class of medicines,” said Amadou Diarra, European VP and General Manager UK and Ireland, B-MS, explaining the group's interest in the drug.

Exenatide is marketed as Byetta in a pre-filled pen, which was launched on UK shores in 2007, and as Bydureon, the first and only once-weekly injectable therapy, which has been available since 2011.

Earlier this week Diabetes UK unveiled shocking figures that just one in five patients with diabetes in England is hitting their blood glucose targets, highlighting the huge scope for improvement in managing the disease, particularly through better use of the medicines on offer.