A French pharmaceutical company believes that a tiny drug-loaded implantable pump will transform the global market for patients with diabetes.

The matchstick-sized device delivers a continuous dose of the drug exenatide to patients for up to a year. It is hoped that the pump will address a major issue in treatment of Type 2 diabetes…. many patients not staying on pills or taking injections needed to control their blood sugar.

The pump has not yet been approved for sale. The French company Servier, along with Boston-based Intarcia Therapeutics plan to submit it to regulators in early 2016.

“When we talk to patients with Type 2 diabetes, there is a huge burden of the treatment for them on their daily lives,” said Pascal Touchon, a vice president at Servier.

Intarcia recently said that in 2 late-stage studies of 520 patients, the device, when used with standard oral medicines, significantly lowered blood sugar, when compared in most cases with standard oral medication alone.

The pump, called the ITCA 650, is based on technology that enables medicine to remain stable at body temperature. It can be implanted in abdominal tissue in a 5 minute procedure.

Exenatide is marketed in other forms by AstraZeneva PLC as Byetta and Bydureon for patients with Type 2 diabetes.

wsj.com 11/12/14

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