An implantable type 2 diabetes pump called ITCA 650 is more effective at reducing weight and blood glucose levels than Januvia, according to a new trial.
Intarcia Therapeutics, a Boston pharmaceutical company, released phase III findings of ITCA 650 following a year-long study.
ITCA 650 is implanted under the skin and provides a year’s supply of exenatide, a GLP-1 receptor agonist. The drug is delivered in continuous minute quantities, to ensure that levels of the drug in the body are stable.
In this new study, 535 patients with type 2 diabetes either took ITCA 650 or Januvia (sitagliptin) – an oral gliptin drug, manufactured by Merck and Co, which reduces blood glucose levels. Januvia is often prescribed when metformin alone is not effective in patients.
Those implanted with ITCA 650 achieved HbA1c reductions of 1.5 per cent (17 mmol/mol). This compared to 0.8 per cent (9 mmol/mol) for participants on Januvia, who took one 100mg pill per day.
The device also led to an average weight loss of 4kg, compared to the average loss of 1.3kg among Januvia patients.
This new study is yet to undergo peer review, but Intarcia plan to submit the trial for publication in a medical journal. They also aim to file for regulatory approval of ITCA 650 within the next 12 months.
Chief Executive Officer Kurt Graves said ITCA 650 is “a disruptive technology that gives patients a totally new way to treat diabetes. People on injections will want to switch over. It’ll have broad appeal in the market.”

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