SSEE- This is what matters in the battle between Novo and Amylin

SSEE- This is what matters in the battle between Novo and Amylin

Last night the two heavyweight contenders in the battle for GLP-1 supremacy went toe to toe. Landing the first series of punches was Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO) who at everyone opportunity knocked their competition Byetta from Amylin (NASDAQ:AMLN). In typical Novo fashion they pilled on the data looking for any advantage no matter how minute.

Amylin did their best to counter-punch offering their own data set, unfortunately the company was fighting with one hand tied behind their back as they couldn’t talk about the results of the Duration 1 study which is embargoed until this evening at 5:50 PST. Facing a tough series of questions Amylin did what they could but as we can see by this morning’s trading Novo landed more punches.

This evening we’ll get our last data set from Roche who will present on their GLP-1. Diabetic Investor is anxious to see this data as there is a buzz surrounding what everyone believes will be solid results.

After all the data is out in the public domain the real battle will begin, researchers will take sides and they pundits will weigh in. The reality here is all this drama is just theater for the real battle which will play out in physician offices across the country. While everyone here at the conference debates, physicians who actually treat patients and recommend therapy options care about only one thing; SSE. Is the therapy Safe? Is it Simple for the patient to use? Is the therapy Effective? They do not care about how the drug works or even why the drug works. Physicians do not have time to read all the study data, attend all the conferences and study every detail. They have practices to run and patients to treat.

This is particularly true when it comes to primary care physicians who treat over 80% of the diabetic population. Unlike endocrinologists who are laser focused on diabetes, PCPs are not, even with their growing diabetic patient base. There simply isn’t enough time in the day to keep up with all this data, see patients and make a living. This is one reason Lantus from Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE:SNY) has become the world’s number one selling insulin. Physicians understand Lantus is Safe, Simple to administer (just one shot a day) and Effective in helping patients control their diabetes.

This is also one of the reasons why the Bayer Contour glucose monitor is gaining market share. Physicians, CDE’s and Pharmacists know the Contour is Safe, Simple to use (with no coding the patient simply inserts a test strip and tests) and Effective.

Looked at from a different perspective although basal – bolus therapy is safe and effective it is not simple. Physicians will not embrace any therapy no matter how effective it is, if that therapy regimen is not simple to administer. Just ask the people at Pfizer (NYSE:PFE)who blew over $3 billion on Exubera, that $3 billion drug that actually turned out to be a $2 million drug.

The bottom line here is simple Byetta LAR trumps Liraglutide six fold – the physician has a choice recommend a therapy which produces solid A1c lowering, helps the patient lose weight and is taken just once a week or a medication that does basically the same thing but must be taken every day. This is the same reason Liraglutide has an opportunity to establish a beachhead before LAR arrives, instead of taking Byetta twice daily patients can eliminate 1 injection per day by switching to Liraglutide.

The last E in SSEE is Execution – the key to this market is not data but which company can better execute. Here the battle will take on epic proportions. Both companies realize that success will not be based on data but who can better deliver their message to the physician. Lilly (NYSE:LLY) Amylin’s partner has given Byetta to their contract sales force in an effort to boost Byetta sales while liraglutide awaits approval. Novo for their part is looking to expand their sales team enabling them to make a full court press when liraglutide is approved.

In the end this will be much to do about nothing as LAR is Amylin’s ace in the hole. In the real world Byetta LAR scores higher on the SSE scale than liraglutide and YES IT IS THAT SIMPLE.

David Kliff
Diabetic Investor
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