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Lilly's dulaglutide tops 3 diabetes drugs in late-stage trials

(Reuters) - Eli Lilly & Co's experimental once-weekly diabetes drug dulaglutide proved superior in late-stage clinical trials to three other widely used medicines that are dosed more frequently, the company said on Monday.

Lilly said it aims to seek marketing approval for its injectable medicine in 2013, based on favorable data from the trio of favorable Phase III studies.

The company said they showed dulaglutide lowered hemoglobin A1c levels, a measure of controlling blood sugar, more than twice-daily injections of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co's Byetta given for six months, oral metformin taken for 26 weeks and Merck & Co's once-daily oral Januvia taken for one year.

Dulaglutide was not tested against Bydureon, a once-weekly form of Bristol-Myers' Byetta that was approved earlier this year. The two Bristol-Myers medicines, and Novo Nordisk's long-acting Victoza, are in the same class of treatments for type 2 diabetes.

Lilly said the most common side effects seen with dulaglutide in the three studies were gastrointestinal related, and that overall safety findings were similar to those seen in mid-stage trials.

Lilly shares were down 0.6 percent to $52.55 in late morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, amid a 0.2 percent decline for the ARCA Pharmaceutical Index of large U.S. and European drugmakers.

(Reporting By Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)