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Lilly diabetes drug fares well in late-stage tests

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Eli Lilly and Co. said Monday a potential diabetes treatment it is developing with German drugmaker Boehringer Ingelheim proved more effective than a placebo according to initial results from four several late-stage studies.

The Indianapolis drug developer said the treatment, a once-daily tablet named empagliflozin, aims to reduce blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes, and it performed better when used alone or with other treatments. The companies tested 10- and 25-milligram doses of the drug.

They said a side effect of genital infections occurred more often in patients taking empagliflozin than in those taking a placebo.

Lilly and Boehringer plan to present more details from their research at scientific meetings and in publications this year and next. They said they plan to seek approval of the drug in the United States, Europe and Japan this year.

"Many patients with type 2 diabetes are not meeting their blood sugar level goals, and alternative treatment options are needed for them," said Klaus Dugi, a Boehringer senior vice president, in a statement from the companies. "We believe we are now one step closer to bringing a new treatment option to these patients."

Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes, a chronic disease in which a person's body doesn't properly produce or use the hormone insulin.

Lilly and Boehringer started teaming up in 2011 to design and sell several diabetes treatments. The companies also said Monday that Boehringer has ended its collaboration with Lilly over one of them, a potential insulin labeled LY2605541.

Lilly plans to resume sole development of the drug, which is in late-stage clinical testing, or the last phase before a company submits a drug to regulators for approval.

Lilly shares fell 21 cents to $51.35 in midday trading, as the Standard & Poor's 500 index also dropped less than 1 percent.