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Eli Lilly Sees Positive Data From Late-Stage Trial of Diabetes Treatment Tirzepatide

Eli Lilly said its developing type-2 diabetes treatment, tirzepatide, significantly reduced A1C and bodyweight levels during late-stage trials.

Eli Lilly & Co.  (LLY) - Get Eli Lilly and Company Report shares leaped higher Wednesday after it reported positive data from a late-stage trial for a developing diabetes drug that could compliment its best-selling treatment Trulicity.

Eli Lilly said its new drug, known as tirzepatide, significantly reduced both A1C blood sugar levels and body weight in patients with type 2 diabetes, when compared to a placebo group, following a phase 3 trial that included 478 participants across four countries. Eli Lilly said the safety profile of tirzepatide was similar to other GLP1 receptor agonist drugs, with gastrointestinal side-effects being the most common.

The results bode well for Eli Lilly's surpass-CVOT trial of cardiovascular outcomes in diabetes patients, a 12,500 participant project that will test tirzepatide against Trulicity, the only GLP1-based treatment currently approved by the FDA. Trulicity, which has sales of $4.128 billion last year, loses patent protection in 2027. 

"As a leader in diabetes care, we have a nearly 100-year heritage of innovating to advance care for people living with diabetes. Tirzepatide is the first dual GIP/GLP-1 receptor agonist to complete a phase 3 trial," said Lilly diabetes president Mike Mason. "We are impressed by these initial results showing how tirzepatide performed in people with a relatively short duration of diabetes, and we look forward to seeing more results in people who are later in the course of diabetes in future studies from our robust SURPASS clinical trial program."

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Eli Lilly shares were marked 5% higher in early trading Wednesday to change hands at $156.71 each, extending their one-month gain to around 10%.

Eli Lilly posted weaker-than-expected third quarter earnings in October, and lowered a portion of its full-year profit guidance, as Trulicity sales slowed from the three months ending in June and costs linked to its coronavirus treatment reached jumped.

Looking into the final months of the year, Eli Lilly said its sees 2020 revenues of between $23.7 billion to $24.2 billion, matching its prior forecast, and reported earnings would be lowered to a range of $6.20 to $6.40 per share.