Researchers have developed an implantable device that delivers incretins, a medication for type 2 diabetes, for up to a year.
Currently called ITCA 650, the device has been developed by Boston (US) based Intarcia Therapeutics. The mini-pump really is mini, being the size of a matchstick, yet is able to release up to a year’s worth of exenatide medication.
Intarcia Therapeutics has developed 6 month and 12 month versions of the mini-pump. The device is implanted into the body subcutaneously (just under the skin) and once the treatment has reached the end of its usable life, is then removed.
Exenatide, which is currently available as an injectable medication under the branded names Byetta and Bydureo, is a GLP-1 agonist that helps to reduce HbA1c whilst having additional favourable benefits in facilitating weight loss. Whilst longer lasting forms of incretins are being developed, the most commonly available versions require injections once or twice per day.
The device has recently completed four trials at phase 3 stage of the clinical trials process. The ITCA 650 mini-pump was shown to be significantly better than placebo and was able to reduce HbA1c levels by 37 mmol/mol (3.4%) over a 9 month period in patients that started with very high HbA1c levels of between 86 and 108 mmol/mol (10 to 12%).
Dr Robert Henry, Professor of Medicine in Residence at The University of California, San Diego, who worked on the studies, expressed his satisfaction with the results of the trial: “I am extremely pleased with these phase 3 results. They delivered everything one could have hoped regarding ITCA 650’s ability to provide sustained blood sugar control for many type 2 diabetes patients who are not achieving their goals – and all of this without the need for regular self-injections.”
Intarcia Therapeutics is keen to continue bringing the mini-pump to the market and have additional phase 3B trials planned to commence in 2015.

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