French drugmaker Ipsen and partner Roche have unveiled late-stage data on their investigational diabetes drug taspoglutide which suggests that the compound works better than Eli Lilly/Amylin’s blockbuster Byetta.

The firms have presented results of the first Phase III clinical study using taspoglutide, a human once-weekly glucagon-like peptide-1 analogue. They show that the drug met its primary endpoint of change in HbA1c versus twice-daily Byetta (exenatide), as an add-on to metformin, a thiazolidinedione or a combination of the last two, and significant superiority versus exenatide was demonstrated over 24 weeks.

The study, full details of which will be disclosed at an upcoming international scientific meeting, is one of eight that Roche is carrying out on taspoglutide. The Swiss drugmaker acquired worldwide rights to compound in 2006, excluding Japan (where it was licensed by Teijin) and France, where Ipsen retained co-marketing rights.

Meantime, Ipsen has posted a 7.8% rise in sales for the third quarter to 256.4 million euros, driven by Decapeptyl (triptorelin pamoate) for prostate cancer, which rose 1.8% to 65.5 million euros. The Somatuline (lanreotide) range of drugs for acromegaly and neuroendocrine tumours was up 15.2% to 35.2 million euros and sales of Dysport (abobotulinumtoxin A) for wrinkles and cervical dystonia jumped 23.5% to 42.6 million euros. Ipsen also announced that the drug has just been approved for the latter indication in the USA.