Takeda’s once-weekly DPP-4 (Diabetes) (PMLive March 26, 2015)
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Takeda has become the first company to get approval for a once-weekly DPP-4 inhibitor for diabetes after its Zafatek product was cleared in Japan.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) has given the nod to Zafatek (trelagliptin succinate) for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, giving it a lead over rival product omarigliptin from Merck & Co which was filed in Japan last November.
Zafatek has the distinction of being the first once-weekly DPP-4 inhibitor to reach the market anywhere in the world, with the potential to improve patient adherence and – potentially – improve blood sugar control and reduce diabetic complications compared to the current short-acting products.
At the moment Merck & Co’s once-daily DPP-4 inhibitor Januvia (sitagliptin) is comfortably leading the market with sales of almost $4bn last year although sales have started to slide a little in the face of increasing competition in the category.
There is not much agreement on the sales potential of the new once-weekly drugs, however, as the increased patient convenience has to be set alongside the fact that most patients are prescribed these drugs alongside metformin, which must be taken every day.
Takeda licenses Zafatek from Furiex, which stands to receive royalties and sales-based milestone payments.