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Sanofi-Aventis Drug Aids Diabetics, Data Show

The company releases study results indicating that its Acomplia helps patients control blood sugar and lose weight.

June 13, 2005|From Bloomberg News

Sanofi-Aventis' experimental weight-loss drug Acomplia helped obese diabetics control their blood sugar and lose weight in a new study.

Acomplia significantly cut the level of HbA1c, a measure of blood-sugar control, to within a manageable range in twice as many patients as those given a placebo, said Marc Cruzel, senior vice president at Paris-based Sanofi. The research was presented at the American Diabetes Assn. meeting in San Diego.

U.S. and European regulators are reviewing the treatment from Sanofi, Europe's second-largest drug maker. The trial was the last of four that the Paris-based company submitted to the agencies. Acomplia, which may also help patients stop smoking and lose weight, could reach annual revenue of $7 billion, said analyst Eric Le Berrigaud at Raymond James Asset Management.

"We have a treatment that allows us to treat a cluster of risks," Cruzel said in a media briefing in Paris ahead of the presentation in San Diego. The latest data show that Acomplia, also known by its generic name rimonabant, "is good for diabetics."

Acomplia helped patients to reduce their weight and improve the balance of cholesterol, Cruzel said. The new results from the test dubbed RIO-Diabetes were consistent with the data from each of three other trials, which didn't include diabetics, Cruzel said.

The latest study covered people with Type 2 diabetes, the most common form, in which the body doesn't produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin that is produced. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use sugar.

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