Novo Nordisk and Sanofi are among the companies which have been presenting data on their investigational and already-marketed drugs at the American Diabetes Association conference in Philadelphia.

First up, Novo reported results comparing degludec, its ultra-long-acting insulin, with Sanofi's Lantus (insulin glargine), the world's biggest-selling insulin product. The Phase IIIa 1,030-patient study showed that degludec significantly reduced the rate of hypoglycaemia at night in adults with type 2 diabetes.

Specifically, nocturnal hypoglycaemic rates were lower by 36% with degludec than with Lantus while obtaining equivalent improvement in glucose control compared with  the Sanofi drug over a 52-week period. Last week, the US Food and Drug Administration pushed back an action date on the Novo therapy to October 29 to allow more time to review data.

The Danish drugmaker has also unveiled a new study with 'real world' data which shows that its Victoza (liraglutide) provided greater reductions in HbA1c compared to Amylin's Byetta (exenatide) and dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP-4) inhibitors, such as Merck & Co's Januvia (sitagliptin) "with weight loss and cost-effectiveness". The study presented at ADA also shows that more patients appeared to favour a drug with a liraglutide-like profile, which is given by injection, over treatments with a sitagliptin-like profile, ie given orally.

As for Sanofi, the French drugmaker presented data which showed that people with early type 2 diabetes uncontrolled on metformin demonstrated superior HbA1c reduction with Lantus versus Januvia. Notably 50% more patients on Lantus achieved HbA1c of less than 7% compared to sitagliptin.

However, 46% of Lantus users had at least one hypoglycaemic event, versus 13% for patients on Januvia, while the Sanofi drug was also associated with weight gain.

The Paris-headquartered drugmaker also announced data demonstrating that Lyxumia (lixisenatide), a once-daily investigational GLP-1 agonist developed with Zealand Pharma, in combination with basal insulin plus oral anti-diabetic agents, significantly reduced HbA1c in people who were either new or already treated with insulin. Sanofi also noted that a marketing authorisation application for Lyxumia has been submitted for review to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in Japan; the drug has already been filed with regulators in Europe and a US submission is planned for the fourth quarter.