Wherefore Art Thou, Galvus and Januvia?

Are they not like the names of some star-crossed Shakespearean lovers? (the handsome, wistful Galvus persues the unobtainable Januvia…)

Globe_theatre_pill_box Well, get over it, ’cause these two new diabetes drugs are up-and-coming “blockbusters,” expected to create as much excitement as Exubera and Byetta — which is strange, actually, since these two of the Dramatic Names are just more pills for supressing insulin resistance.

But the New York Times says: “Wall Street analysts are bullish about Galvus and Januvia, predicting that each drug could have annual sales as high as $2 billion.”

Why?
Especially if admittedly, Galvus and Januvia — from Novartis and Merck respectively — “do not appear to be quite as potent at lowering blood sugar as metformin”?

From what I gather, it’s the lack of common side effects that accompany use of other oral drugs (sulfonylureas) for Type 2 diabetes, especially weight gain and risk of hypoglycemia.

Galvus and Januvia are the first in a new class of oral diabetes medications, called DDP-4 inhibitors (sometimes called gliptins), designed to enhance the body’s natural system of lowering blood glucose. They do this by raising the levels of a naturally occurring hormone, called GLP-1, released in the stomach and intestines during eating. This hormone causes the pancreas to produce more insulin while simultaneously discouraging the liver from producing sugar.

Sounds good. Both drugs are being reviewed by the FDA now.

And make no mistake, my friends, this is not just pretty poetry. This is high-stakes jousting here … ’cause what’s at stake is the global diabetes drug market, worth $15 billion this year and projected to reach $25 billion by 2011 (according to my buddy over at CNN Money).

My favorite quote from that story is this:

“It’s Coke versus Pepsi, but they’ll try to differentiate on some clinical points,” says analyst Les Funtleyder. “It’s going to be a marketing war.”

With such lovely (as morning dew) brand names, it’s too bad you won’t be hearing them in the same sweet breath…

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2 Responses

  1. Living With Diabetes
    Living With Diabetes July 3, 2006 at 8:29 am | | Reply

    New Type 2 Drugs

    Diabetes Mine: Wherefore Art Thou, Galvus and Januvia? If they can reduce A1C values without the side effects they have a winner. But I bet they have their own set of problems….

  2. Nathan Oen
    Nathan Oen October 17, 2006 at 8:01 pm | | Reply

    It’s finally here. I got tired of injecting Byetta so this orally daily medicine is a welcome news. I’ll ask my doctor next week when I’ll do my check-up.

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