It's a little early to call it, but it looks like Bristol-Myers Squibb
Their new diabetes drug, dapagliflozin, seems to work pretty well when combined with metformin, a standard of care for type 2 diabetics. In a six-month trial, at all the doses tested, the drug was able to lower HbA1c levels -- a measure of long-term glucose levels -- better than placebo.
Dapagliflozin is in a new class of diabetes medications that inhibits the kidneys from moving glucose back into the bloodstream, and thereby lowers the glucose levels in diabetics. With a new mechanism of action, there's always concern that side effects might crop up, but so far everything looks OK.
If dapagliflozin has another successful clinical trial and wins approval, it'll enter a pretty crowded market. But I think there's room, especially if it can be used as an add-on therapy with a popular drug such as Merck's
If new oral medications are developed that can help slow the progression of the disease, the clear losers will be companies making insulin and other injectable drugs, like Amylin Pharmaceuticals'
It'll probably be another year before the companies file for marketing approval, putting a potential approval in 2011. The drug's still worth keeping an eye on, though, whether you're invested in Bristol-Myers, AstraZeneca, or one of the makers of rival diabetes treatments.
Let us know what you think in Motley Fool CAPS. Make an out- or underperform call on these companies, or post a pitch about whether you think dapagliflozin is Bristol-Myers' ticket to its post-Plavix future. It's free, fun, and Foolish.