* Sanofi to focus on fixed Lantus/Lyxumia combination
* Development timeline expected in June
PARIS May 2 Sanofi is stepping up the
development of a fixed combination of diabetes treatments Lantus
and Lyxumia to sidestep an earlier setback with a similar pen
device and take advantage of the delayed U.S. launch of
competitor Novo Nordisk's new insulin.
The French drugmaker, which on Thursday reported
first-quarter results, said it would provide a fresh timeline
for the fixed-combination pen device, currently in mid-stage
trials, next month.
Having a product that effectively combines two of its key
diabetes treatments would bolster Sanofi's portfolio in a market
that is becoming increasingly crowded despite the delayed
arrival of a new insulin product by Novo Nordisk.
The Danish drugmaker could see the U.S. launch of Tresiba,
its biggest drug hope, delayed until 2018 while it conducts more
tests to satisfy regulators, it said on Wednesday.
The development of a variable combination of insulin Lantus
and Lyxumia faced a setback earlier this year when Sanofi said
the product would not start late-stage trials in 2013 because of
problems with the injecting device.
The so-called Fix-Flex device was meant to offer a fixed
dose of Lyxumia but would let patients adjust their dose of
Lantus, which could help them control blood sugar levels better
than each therapy used alone.
Lyxumia is part of a new class of diabetes treatments called
GLP-1 analogues which prompt the body to release insulin when a
diabetic's blood sugar level climbs too high.
(Reporting by Elena Berton. Editing by Jane Merriman)