- Intarcia's ITCA 650, a GLP-1 receptor agonist pump, is being hailed as the next big thing in diabetes treatment. If approved, the pump would give patients an option beyond oral medications and injectables.
- In a one-year clinical study of 535 patients with diabetes, Merck's DPP-4 inhibitor Januvia was compared with ITCA 650, with a focus on blood glucose (BG) control, weight loss, and other related measures. Overall, ITCA 650 was found to be more effective.
- Intarcia is a privately held, venture capital-funded company based in Boston.
It seems that Intarcia has showed up to take on a pharma giant with a completely innovative treatment option—assuming that it makes it through the final stages of development. This company, which is backed by New Enterprise Associates and Venrock, has developed a "disruptive technology" for diabetes, according to CEO Kurt Graves.
In the one-year study, ITCA 650-treated patients had an average decline in BG of 1.5% versus 0.8% for Januvia-treated patients. Patients in each group lost 9 pounds and 2.3 pounds, respectively.
Although Merck did not express concern about the role of Januvia as a frequently used treatment option for patients with diabetes, they stand to lose a lot if Januvia, which generated $3.93 billion in sales last year and is Merck's biggest seller, is seriously challenged.
Intarcia plans to file in the first half of 2016.