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Dec. 2, 2009, 2:59 a.m. EST

Roche says new diabetes drug works better than Merck's Januvia

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By Katharina Bart

ZURICH (MarketWatch) -- Roche Holding AG (ROG.VX) said Wednesday an experimental once-weekly treatment under development works better in treating a type of diabetes than Merck & Co. Inc.'s /zigman2/quotes/209956077/composite MRK +1.18% Januvia, according to a clinical study.

The Basel-based drug company is comparing taspoglutide to Januvia and to a placebo in a Phase-III study on Type 2 diabetes, and said the drug met primary endpoints and was well-tolerated by patients taking it.

Roche acquired the worldwide marketing rights, excluding Japan and France, to taspoglutide from French drugmaker Ipsen SA (IPN.FR) in 2006, in a deal that allows Ipsen to retain co-marketing rights for France if it so wishes.

As in a previous study, the most common side effects reported from taking taspoglutide were nausea and vomiting, Roche said.

Roche also recently presented data showing taspoglutide works better in lowering blood sugar than Byetta, a drug sold by Eli Lilly & Co. /zigman2/quotes/200106384/composite LLY +1.96% .

Analysts at German bank Sal. Oppenheim said in a recent note that taspoglutide will likely ultimately win approval from the U.S. health regulator, based on its strong effectiveness and the medical need for safe drugs to treat Type 2 diabetes.

The head-to-head survey against Januvia forms part of a host of studies Roche is carrying out to show how taspoglutide works in diabetes.

Roche shares, which have risen 1.9% so far this year, closed at CHF165.50 Tuesday, giving the company a market capitalization of $143.49 billion.

Company Web site: http://www.roche.com

/zigman2/quotes/209956077/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 110.12
+1.28 +1.18%
Volume: 20.31M
Nov. 30, 2022 4:04p
P/E Ratio
18.32
Dividend Yield
2.65%
Market Cap
$275.95 billion
Rev. per Employee
$719,221
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/zigman2/quotes/200106384/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 371.08
+7.13 +1.96%
Volume: 5.56M
Nov. 30, 2022 4:03p
P/E Ratio
55.73
Dividend Yield
1.06%
Market Cap
$345.82 billion
Rev. per Employee
$835,414
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