Trulicity launch in India sees Lilly enter key Asian market

John Lechleiter, Chairman and CEO, Eli Lilly

Once a week GLP-1 receptor agonist for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes, Eli Lilly's ($LLY) Trulicity has launched in India, setting up heightened competition in the key Asian market.

The launch, Edgard Olaizola, Lilly India's managing director told BusinessLine, builds on approvals in the U.S. and Europe as well as global clinical trials on 5,000 patients that included Indians.

The cost at INR2,499 ($37.15) for a single-injection pen that does not require preparation and can be taken at any time is in the same range as current products on the market, Olaizola said.

"India is the third country after Japan and the UAE in Asia and it (Trulicity) is already available in the U.S. and Europe. This complements our diabetes portfolio in India," Olaizola said in a separate interview with Press Trust of India (PTI).

Last year, Lilly received Trulicity (dulaglutide) approval in Japan and has a sales collaboration agreement there with Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma for the therapy.

Enrique Conterno, president of Lilly Diabetes, said on the 2015 second quarter earnings call that in Japan "the GLP-1 class has the lowest penetration in Type 2 diabetes of any major market."

In India for Lilly, Olaizola said in the PTI interview, diabetes is the biggest segment with "about 85% of our sales in India coming from diabetes and we are growing double digit and growing our market share."

Trulicity enters a market where the India patent office in February slapped down an application from Tokyo-based Takeda Pharmaceutical for its single-dose Type 2 diabetes treatment (DPP-4) inhibitor.

In October of last year, India's Lupin Pharmaceuticals inked a deal with Germany's Boehringer Ingelheim to sell linagliptin, a blood glucose (DPP-4) inhibitor for Type 2 diabetes, under a separate brand name.

Boehringer will still use its brand names, Trajenta and TrajentaDuo.

India has more than 60 million people diagnosed with some form of diabetes, with Type 2 the most prevalent. That's second to China's 90 million, the highest number of cases for a country globally.

The International Diabetes Foundation estimates India will have 100 million diabetes patients by 2030, with 90% Type 2.

- here's the story from the Hindu BusinessLine
- and one from PTI carried in the Economic Times