UPDATE 3-Roche gets more positive data on diabetes drug

* Diabetes treatment taspoglutide meets late-stage goal

* Taspoglutide is 1st once-weekly type 2 diabetes treatment

* Roche also gets EU label extension approval for Tarceva

* Stock up 1.5 pct vs 0.7 pct sector rise

(Updates share price)

By Katie Reid

ZURICH, April 29 (BestGrowthStock) – Roche’s (ROG.VX: ) diabetes
treatment taspoglutide has met its goal in a late-stage trial,
bringing it a step closer to regulatory approval as the Swiss
drugmaker seeks to boost its position in the fast-growing
diabetes market.

Roche said the trial showed that the type-2 diabetes
treatment, which patients would take just once a week, showed
blood glucose levels were better controlled after 24 weeks
compared with a placebo.

Roche has now reached its primary endpoints in six out of
eight late-stage trials for taspoglutide and will present more
data on the treatment at the American Diabetes Association
conference in June.

“The data adds to the existing body of evidence that the
drug works,” said Helvea analyst Karl-Heinz Koch.

“The profile of the drug is good and it will be interesting
to look out for more data at the ADA conference.”

At 1024 GMT, Roche stock was trading 1.5 percent higher,
outperforming a 0.7 percent rise in the European pharmaceuticals
sector (.SXDP: ).

Roche has said this medicine could see peak sales of at
least 2 billion Swiss francs ($1.84 billion) if launched.

ONCE-A-WEEK TREATMENT

Type 2 diabetes, which is often caused by obesity, is the
most common form of the disease and affects more than 180
million adults worldwide. By 2030 more than 360 million people
are expected to suffer from it, according to Roche.

This form of diabetes, which currently requires daily
treatment, can lead to cardiovascular diseases, stroke,
blindness, amputations and kidney failure if it is not
controlled.

“Roche is really competing on how often patients have to
take the medication and by bringing out a once-weekly treatment
they look set to win market share from Novo Nordisk’s (NOVOb.CO: )
once daily Victoza. What Roche is developing is really cutting
edge,” Helvea’s Koch said.

Roche exercised its licensing option from Ipsen (IPN.PA: ) in
2006 and acquired exclusive worldwide rights to develop and
market taspoglutide, except in Japan where these rights are
shared with Teijin and in France where Ipsen has retained
co-marketing rights.

Roche, the world’s largest maker of cancer drugs, is seeking
to bolster its position outside oncology and has said at least
seven of its experimental drugs have blockbuster potential.

Earlier this month, it strengthened its diabetes portfolio
by buying insulin patch pump developer Medingo.[ID:nLDE63C04N]

The T-emerge 3 study tested taspoglutide as an add-on
therapy to existing diabetes treatments metformin and
pioglitazone, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

The group also said on Thursday its blockbuster lung cancer
pill Tarceva had won label extension approval in the European
Union for the maintenance treatment of patients with advanced
non-small cell lung cancer that remained largely unchanged.

The drug, which is co-marketed by OSI Pharmaceuticals
(OSIP.O: ), was cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
earlier this month. [ID:nN16168556]

Tarceva, which brought in sales of $1.2 billion last year,
had already won regulatory approval for treating lung cancer
that had worsened following at least one chemotherapy regimen.

Stock Research

(Editing by Jon Loades-Carter and Karen Foster)
($1=1.085 Swiss Franc)

UPDATE 3-Roche gets more positive data on diabetes drug