ADA 2014: The Mind-Blowing Breakthrough in GLP-1 Agonists

GLP-1 agonists are part of a class of drugs known as incretin mimetics. They're not the same as either diabetes tablets or insulin injections.

Currently, GLP-1 agonists amount to either daily or weekly injections for diabetes patients, but Boston-based Intarcia Therapeutics seeks to change all that with a potentially mind-blowing innovation in the ITCA 650.

With the ITCA 650, people with type 2 diabetes would receive a very small, thin pump implanted under their skin on an annual basis, which delivers daily doses of exenatide, which is the active ingredient in both Byetta and Bydureon (both made by AstraZeneca). You read that right: annually. Once a year.

Intarcia Therapeutics presented the latest data from its Phase III trial at the ADA, demonstrating "a sheer magnitude of positive clinical responses. [It] significantly lowered the blood sugar of patients with severe hyperglycemia in 6-month results," they said in their presentation. "In the interim data, the 50 patients who reached week 13 averaged a 2.5 percent decrease in blood sugar, while the 39 who hit week 19 reported a 2.9 percent drop, and the 25 who got to 26 weeks posted a 3.2 percent mean reduction."

Keep in mind these results are preliminary and need to be published in a peer-reviewed medical journal to be validated. Still, the company is eyeing a date with the FDA as soon as 2016.

Photo: Intarcia

Graphic of how ITCA 650 works.