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Experimental diabetes pill shows encouraging signs

Merck &Co has revealed promising results for its experimental, once-weekly type 2 diabetes drug, known as MK-3102.
Presenting data from its mid-stage clinical trial in Berli, the drugmaker said the pill proved effective in reducing blood glucose levels in patients with higher-than-normal HbA1c levels.
The Phase II trail involved testing MK-3102 at five doses against a placebo. After 12 weeks of treatment, the drug showed statistically significant improvements in glycemic control, with long-term blood sugar levels falling considerably at all doses – ranging from 0.71 per cent at 25 mg to 0.28 per cent for the lowest 0.25 mg dose.
Merck said the 0.71 HbA1c reduction seen with 25 mg doses is similar to the glycemic reducing effect of its successful daily diabetes drug Januvia (sitagliptin), which is part of the same DPP-4 inhibitors class of medicines as MK-3102.
As with Januvia, the new drug is likely to work by itself or in combination with other diabetes treatments, including insulin, the company added.
Nancy Thornberry, Merck’s head of diabetes and endocrinology, said: “We think this is going to be a very attractive choice for patients who have a high pill burden. Any attempt to simplify the regimen for those patients is helpful.”
Following the positive Phase II results, the company said it will now commence larger, final stage Phase III clinical trials, which will involve testing MK-3102 against, and in combination with, other diabetic medications .

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