Shares of pharma giant Eli Lilly (LLY 0.19%) rose by as much as 6.5% on Wednesday and closed the day's trading session up by 5.8%. Investors reacted positively to Eli Lilly releasing data from a phase 3 clinical for tirzepatide, an investigational diabetes treatment.
The trial tested the safety and efficacy of tirzepatide on patients with type 2 diabetes. After 40 weeks of treatment, the highest dose of the experimental medicine led to an A1C reduction of 2.07%. A1C measures a person's average blood glucose level over the past three months; 51.7% of participants receiving the highest dose of tirzepatide had their A1C level decrease below 5.7%, which is the level seen in those without diabetes.
Further, these patients reduced their body weight by 11% (9.5 kg). Tirzepatide's safety profile was also encouraging, as it was comparable to those of other GLP-1 receptor agonists (a class of medicines that help diabetes patients keep their blood sugar levels in check).
Eli Lilly is already one of the biggest players in the market for diabetes drugs, thanks to products such as Trulicity, Humalog, Humulin, Basaglar, and more. And with the positive results from tirzepatide's phase 3 clinical trial, the drugmaker could add yet another arrow to its wide -- and expanding -- diabetes quiver. But Eli Lilly also markets notable products in such areas as oncology (Alimta, Verzenio) and others. That's not to mention the company's dozens of ongoing clinical trials, which could translate to newer products and higher revenue and earnings. Investors would do well to consider adding shares of this pharma stock to their portfolios.