Sanofi launches Lantus safety studies

Remember the quick furor over the safety of Sanofi-Aventis' insulin drug Lantus? As you'll recall, the company quickly fought back against a couple of studies that appeared to link Lantus to an increased risk of cancer. One of its weapons was a promise to undertake a major study of the possible links between insulin use and cancer--and whether Lantus' particular risk is any different from that of other insulins.

Well, it's making good on that promise. Today Sanofi (SAN) announced the details of that research program, which will encompass several studies, including some lab-based tests. Patient studies will be conducted in Europe and North America, with timelines that include short-term results and longer-term data as well.

Possible links between insulin and cancer have been debated for some time. But until the brouhaha over the research published in Diabetolgica this summer, no drugmaker had undertaken research specific to the question. Now Sanofi has the impetus to do so. "We know that patients, physicians and the medical community at large are looking forward to getting increased scientific knowledge on the matter," Sanofi's chief medical officer, Dr. Jean-Pierre Lehner, said in a statement. "We believe that the plan that we are currently implementing will generate robust data that will help add to the assessment of any insulin's and Lantus' safety."

- read the Sanofi release
- check out the news from Reuters

ALSO: A U.S. district court dismissed a shareholder lawsuit against Sanofi-Aventis over its diet drug Zumulti's failure to gain FDA approval. Report