Lilly's Trulicity CV outcomes data underwhelm amid blockbuster diabetes rivalry with Novo
Eli Lilly has suffered a minor defeat in the blockbuster diabetes rivalry as analysts size up the cardiovascular outcomes for Trulicity against Novo Nordisk’s products.
To be sure, Lilly was in a celebratory mood about the REWIND trial, the longest of such studies within the GLP-1 class. Their drug scored a 12% reduction in major cardiovascular events (MACE), driven by all three composite measures spanning non-fatal heart attack, non-fatal stroke and CV death — regardless of whether the patients had established CV disease.
But the data, presented over the weekend at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association, have fallen below analyst expectations.
Following last November’s announcement that Trulicity had delivered in preventing initial or secondary major cardio events, Cowen conducted a poll among specialists and found that the majority anticipated the drug to show a 20% risk reduction, while investors were looking for something as high as 30%.
“REWIND’s benefits in risk reduction were on par with Novo’s Victoza (LEADER trial; 13%, HR=0.87), but below Novo’s Ozempic (SUSTAIN-6 trial; 26%, HR=0.74) – both of which studied patients with CV risks,” Steve Scala added in his note, adding the caveat that the Ozempic trial had a very different patient population and protocol.
As flawed as cross-trial comparisons may be, though, they provide analysts with hints as to how the big franchises would compete against each other. At last count, Trulicity enjoyed a peak sales estimate of $5 billion while Ozempic’s potential was tapped at $4.25 billion.
“The trial could secure Trulicity a uniquely broad CV benefit claim but we believe specific claims for primary and/or secondary prevention are unlikely, with the former seen as a risk to Novo’s GLP-1 franchise,” Jefferies analyst Peter Welford wrote.
The duo will have plenty of time to duke it out before the next-gen drugs come into the picture.