The IDF World Conference – What to expect.
Next week the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) will be hosting the 19th World Diabetes Conference in Cape Town, South Africa. Investors should mark their calendars for two very important presentations. The first will held on Monday December 4th at 11 a.m. EST by GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) which will review their Avandia franchise. On Tuesday December 5th at 9:30 a.m. EST Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE:SNY) will release data from the Acomplia® Serenade study.
Back here in the US on Wednesday December 6th at 8:30 a.m. EST Merck (NYSE:MRK) will be conducting a conference call to review guidance. The next day Thursday December 7th (Pearl Harbor Day) at 8:30 a.m. EST Lilly (NYSE:LLY) will be hosting an analyst update.
As everyone can see it will be a full week for Diabetic Investor. Let’s take a look at what’s at stake for each company:
With the recent launch of Januvia from Merck many, including Diabetic Investor, believe that Januvia is a threat to Avandia and Actos sales. (Avandia from GSK and Actos from Lilly) The early sales data for Januvia looks very promising as it appears physicians are buying into the belief that although Januvia does not work as well as either Avandia or Actos, it works well enough and there are fewer side effects. Investors should pay close attention to Merck’s call and not just for Januvia sales figures. As everyone knows Galvus, another DPP-4 from Novartis (NYSE:NVS), has been delayed at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over concern with skin lesions, a side effect that also appeared with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (NYSE:BMY) DPP-4 under development. Merck has insisted that Januvia, also a DPP-4, has not experienced this side effect during their trials. Look for many questions on this issue.
The presentation from Sanofi-Aventis on Tuesday could be the most interesting. Original targeted at the obesity market, Acomplia which is currently awaiting approval at the FDA, is also looked at as a treatment for pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Although the drug has been approved outside the US, many have concerns over possible side effects. The folks at Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) will surly be watching this presentation closely as they have a similar product in phase III trials.
With Novo Nordisk (NYSENVO) announcing plans to increase their sales force, Lilly’s presentation may be the most important of all. Lilly has fallen to third place in the global insulin market and its pipeline in diabetes is weak at best. With Amylin (NASDAQ:AMLN) shares under pressure will Lilly finally step up to the plate and acquire the company?
One theme that will likely be seen is the expansion of the type 2 market to include treating pre-diabetes. In the US alone it’s estimated there are 51 million patients with pre-diabetes. With such a large market potential several of the companies in the type 2 medication market have set their sights on expanding the role of their drugs. The question is will physicians buy into the concept of treating pre-diabetes with drugs.
All in all the first full week of December will be very interesting indeed!!!!