Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim have launched their fixed-dose combination drug Jentadueto for type 2 diabetes in the US.
Jentadueto was approved by the US FDA at the end of January for use alongside diet and exercise to improve glycaemic control in type 2 diabetics.
It combines linagliptin, which the pharma companies market as Tradjenta in the US (Trajenta in Europe), with the older generic drug metformin.
"By combining two important diabetes medicines in a single tablet, Jentadueto provides people with type 2 diabetes another option to control their blood sugar," said David Pass, vice president for cardiovascular and metabolic disorders marketing at Boehringer Ingelheim.
The new product comes out of a year-long collaboration between Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim, set up to develop and commercialise several drugs based on linagliptin, including Tradjenta, which US regulators approved in May 2011.
Tradjenta is considered a key product for Lilly as it weathers the loss of patent protection on key products such as schizophrenia therapy Zyprexa (olanzapine) and prepares for generic competition to antidepressant Cymbalta (duloxetine).
Linagliptin is the only drug in the dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor class that is licensed for use in type 2 diabetes irrespective of the patient's degree of renal impairment, with no dose adjustment or additional treatment-related monitoring required.
The DPP-4 inhibitors are an important treatment option in the $16.9bn US diabetes market, thanks to their low propensity to cause weight gain compared to older oral antidiabetic drugs and overall good tolerability.
Tradjenta was the third DPP-4 inhibitor to reach the market as a monotherapy in the US after Merck & Co's Januvia (sitagliptin) and Bristol-Myers Squibb/AstraZeneca's Onglyza (saxagliptin). Both the letter drugs are also sold as combination products including metformin in the formulation.