Roche says that its once-weekly glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogue taspoglutide, licensed from Ipsen, has shone in five late-stage trials and could be a valuable treatment for type 2 diabetics.

The Swiss major has announced results from the first five Phase III trials which show that taspoglutide has met the primary end-points of reduction in blood glucose. The trials, called T-emerge, 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 Byetta (exenatide).

In all five trials, taspoglutide was generally well tolerated and the most frequently reported adverse events were nausea and vomiting “which is an expected occurrence in all medications in this class,” Roche said. The company’s global head of product development, Hal Barron, said the studies show that treatment with once-weekly taspoglutide “leads to significantly improved blood glucose control, consistent weight loss, a minimal risk of hypoglycaemia and manageable safety profile”.

He added that “we believe taspoglutide has the potential to become an important therapy”. It was licensed 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 promising data on taspoglutide comes in the wake of Novo Nordisk’s GLP-1 analogue Victoza (liraglutide) receiving approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, having been available in Europe since last summer.