UPDATE 1-Sanofi says drug cuts diabetics' blood sugar

Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:53am EDT

* Late stage trial also cuts glucose and body weight

* Trial latest in a series of positive signs for drug

* Lixisenatide part of broader diabetes effort by Sanofi

PARIS, April 12 (Reuters) - Sanofi-Aventis (SASY.PA) said on Tuesday that a key experimental diabetes drug had seen significant success in a late stage trial in reducing a key measure of blood sugar as well as glucose and body weight.

Results from the trial also showed that the type 2 diabetes drug lixisenatide did not significantly increase the risk of symptomatic hypoglycemia compared with a placebo.

The trial was the latest in a series of successful ones for the drug, part of a wider effort by Sanofi to broaden its diabetes offering, which includes blockbuster insulin Lantus.

Sanofi, which recently acquired U.S. biotech Genzyme, has set up a diabetes division to become more competitive in the fight against a disease whose incidence is rising worldwide as more and more people become overweight.

Lixisenatide belongs to the GLP-1 class of drugs that stimulate insulin release when glucose levels become too high. If it wins marketing approval it will compete with Novo Nordisk's Victoza and Amylin AMLN.O and Eli Lilly's (LLY.N) Byetta.

(Reporting by Christian Plumb; Editing by Lionel Laurent)

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