Years ago, Sanofi's Soliqua hit the diabetes market with the promise of combining an insulin and a GLP-1 medicine in a convenient once-daily treatment option for Type 2 diabetes. So far, though, sales haven't quite matched that promise.
With new trial data presented at the American Diabetes Association's 81st Scientific Sessions on Monday, Sanofi is looking to give its drug a boost in the competitive diabetes field.
The study, dubbed SoliMix, showed that once-daily Soliqua bested the popular premixed insulin BIAsp 30 given twice per day at breakfast and dinner on two primary endpoints—helping patients achieve A1C control and control their weight.
The trial included type 2 diabetes patients who had previously been on a basal insulin plus one or two oral medicines. The patients’ disease was not well controlled despite their existing treatment regimen, Sanofi's Luigi Meneghini, VP of medical affairs and head of diabetes in the U.S., explained in an interview.
Patients who received Soliqua experienced A1C reductions of about 1.8 percentage points, compared with 1.1 for premixed insulin. That’s “really important news,” Meneghini said.
To be able to tell an endocrinologist that a once-per-day treatment beats two shots of a premixed insulin is “surprising,” he added.
On the weight control endpoint, patients on the Soliqua arm lost about 1.5 pounds on average compared with about 2.5 pounds of average weight gain for the patients who received premixed insulin. Investigators tested the drugs against one another in 887 total patients.
As another component of the study, investigators asked patients to fill out questionnaires about their quality of life and record their experiences on the treatments. Those on Soliqua "consistently" scored better, Meneghini said. And on the safety front, Soliqua demonstrated a lower risk of hypoglycemia, as well, he added.
The results are an “eye-opener,” Meneghini said. In a group of patients struggling to control their disease, a once-per-day treatment was “much more effective” than premixed insulin taken twice as frequently, Meneghini said. Colleagues that he’s spoken with have noted “excitement” about the findings, he added.
Sanofi's Soliqua has been around for a few years, generating €161 million ($191 million) last year for the French drugmaker. The drug is fixed-ratio combination of the company's blockbuster insulin Lantus and its GLP-1 medicine Adlyxin.
The company launched Soliqua in early 2017, a few months before Novo Nordisk launched its rival, Xultophy. So far, Novo's drug has outperformed the Sanofi offering on the market, generating around $391 million last year.
Moving forward, Meneghini said he expects there to be a “lot of interest” in the medicine after Sanofi communicates the results. As an endocrinologist, he noted that doctors “use data to drive a lot of decisions.”
Sanofi is presenting the data at the American Diabetes Association’s 81st Scientific Sessions, and investigators are publishing details in the journal Diabetes Care.