New diabetes drugs: What's your hook?
By: Erica Caveney, MD | September 25, 2014
The diabetes treatment marketplace is already crowded with competitors. Many classes of agents offer five or more options, with what differentiates them from each other being fairly nuanced. This is making it harder for biopharma companies to bring new products to market – or to get them approved at the reimbursement fees they anticipated – despite spending millions to get them there.
In today’s diabetes marketplace, for an anti-diabetes drug to have successful uptake by the collective community, it has to do more than lower HbA1c by a percentage point or less. The market place is looking for game changers; drugs that will either have a dramatic impact on blood sugar level, or even better, a drug that treats the diabetes as well as either the complications that go with it or other aspects of metabolic disease or have an adherence advantage.
Imagine a drug that lowers blood sugar while also causing obese or overweight patients to achieve weight loss on par with gastric bypass surgery, or one that lowers blood sugar and also positively impacts albuninurea , cures retinopathy, or improves circulation in those with peripheral vascular disease. These are kinds of solutions that will likely capture regulators’ attention.
Biopharma companies that want to gain a competitive advantage in this space need to think more holistically about their research goals. If they focus on therapies that can deliver multiple benefits to diabetes sufferers, it won’t matter how crowded the marketplace is, their products will surely stand out.