* Head of diabetes says eyeing broadest portfolio in
* Aiming to win bigger slice of growing market
* Lilly currently No.4 in $40 bln diabetes market
* Lilly says mainly addressing GPs, not specialists
By Ludwig Burger and Frank Siebelt
FRANKFURT, May 3 Eli Lilly, the world's
fourth-largest diabetes drugs maker, aims to have the widest
range of anti diabetic drugs in order to win a larger slice in
the growing market.
The global $40 billion diabetes drugs market could be worth
as much as $53 billion in 2016, making it the second-largest
therapeutic area by sales in the pharmaceuticals industry after
cancer, according to market research IMS.
"We have such a robust pipeline that we expect to have the
broadest portfolio in our industry. With our late-stage
development, we are present across the continuum," Enrique
Conterno, the head of Lilly's diabetes business, told Reuters in
Lilly has 10.6 percent market share from drugs such as
Humalog and Humulin. It currently trails Denmark's Novo Nordisk
, France's Sanofi and U.S. giant Merck & Co.
, but with dozens of new drugs now being tested, the
balance could shift easily.
Regulators are currently reviewing a marketing application
for Lilly and Boehringer's shared drug empagliflozin, which
belongs to a new class of oral drugs called SGLT2 inhibitors.
Lilly also plans to submit its experimental once-weekly
injection dulaglutide, part of a class of medicines called GLP-1
agonists that includes widely used Byetta and Bydureon.
Being present in the two substance classes, in addition to
new types of insulin under development, would put Lilly ahead of
its rivals, Conterno said.
A broader portfolio would also open the door to more
combination therapies, such as the Trajenta/empagliflozin
cocktail that Lilly is eyeing, which are likely to play an
increasing role in therapy.
As diabetes spreads quickly due to growing obesity rates,
treatment of the disease is increasingly passing to general
practitioners in large numbers from a smaller range of
As a result anti diabetics makers are seeking to offer a
broader range of treatments in order for their marketing costs
to translate into prescriptions and revenues.
"You need a critical mass, to reach a larger number of
primary care physicians with our resources and support
programmes," Conterno said.
The same reasoning was behind Lilly's deal in 2011 to work
with family-owned German drugmaker Boehringer, which has better
access to primary care doctors across the world than Lilly.
Lilly is not alone in trying to partner up to diversify
across substance classes.
Pfizer and Merck this week said they will
co-develop Pfizer's diabetes drug ertugliflozin, both as a
standalone product and in combination with other drugs,
including Merck's blockbuster Januvia.
AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb last
year jointly acquired diabetes specialist Amylin, widening an
existing alliance between the two major