Roche and Ipsen’s investigational type 2 diabetes drug taspoglutide has inched its way ahead of rival Merck’s Januvia, according to late stage studies.

The once-weekly GLP-1 analogue was found to meet endpoints in trials that compared it to Merck’s Januvia (sitagliptin) and placebo. Indeed, patients taking taspoglutide had greater HbA1c reductions - a marker of blood glucose levels - than those on Januvia and placebo after 24 weeks.

The results came from the T-EMERGE 4 trial of 636 patients and the T-EMERGE 1 trial of 373 treatment-naïve patients. Positive results from the T-EMERGE 2 trial have already been released, which compared taspoglutide with Eli Lilly’s and Amylin’s Byetta (exenatide).

While the results have come out positive to date, analysts are remaining cautious claiming the type 2 diabetes market is a tough nut to crack, especially as studies on the side effect profile on taspoglutide have been limited.

A further five Phase III trials of taspoglutide are being conducted by Roche and Ipsen.