(Adds details, analysts' comments; updates shares)
By Vrinda Manocha
April 14 Lexicon Pharmaceuticals Inc
said its experimental drug to treat diabetes reduced the use of
insulin at meal times in a mid-stage study of patients with type
1 diabetes, sending the company's shares up as much as 17
Lexicon said the drug, codenamed LX4211, reduced the total
dose of insulin taken by patients at meal times by 32 percent,
compared with a 6 percent reduction in patients given a placebo.
Morningstar analyst Karen Andersen said Lexicon would have
to find a partner to fund late-stage development of the drug as
a treatment for type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
"This (data) obviously gives them more leverage in
negotiations, and could be enough to allow them to finally lock
in a deal," she said.
Wedbush Securities analyst Liana Moussatos, however, said
Lexicon might not need a partner if it was allowed by the U.S.
health regulator to pursue LX4211 as a treatment for just type 1
diabetes, without having to test the drug for type 2 diabetes.
LX4211 is designed to delay the absorption of glucose in the
digestive tract and its reabsorption by the kidney, to increase
the excretion of excess sugar through the urine.
Johnson & Johnson's drug Invokana uses a similar
mechanism to treat type 2 diabetes.
A similar drug developed jointly by AstraZeneca Plc
and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co was approved by the FDA in
January for type 2 diabetes patients.
Lexicon said on Monday that the latest data supported
late-stage development of LX4211 for use with insulin in the
treatment of type 1 diabetes, which occurs when the body's
immune system destroys pancreatic cells that produce insulin.
There was no reported increase in hypoglycemia, a condition
where blood glucose falls after a patient takes too much
insulin, causing dizziness, fatigue and in some cases,
unconsciousness, the company said.
The drug was well tolerated in the study, in which 33
patients with poorly controlled type 1 diabetes received a
placebo or LX4211 once daily for 28 days. No patients
discontinued treatment due to adverse events.
Lexicon, which is also testing the drug for type 2 diabetes,
is in talks with partners to fund its late-stage development.
The company said in October that the drug reduced blood
glucose after a meal in a study on patients with type 2 diabetes
and moderate-to-severe renal impairment. (link.reuters.com/zaf58v)
In January, the company said it would cut 45 percent of its
workforce and its chief executive would leave as the company
shifted focus from drug discovery to completing late-stage
studies of its drugs.
Lexicon's shares were up about 4 percent at $1.65 in noon
trading on the Nasdaq.
(Editing by Kirti Pandey)