LONDON, July 11 - GlaxoSmithKline will seek approval early next year for its new once-weekly diabetes drug albiglutide after receiving final positive clinical trial data.
The product comes out of GSK's partnership with Human Genome Sciences, the U.S. biotech company it is currently trying to acquire for $2.6 billion in a disputed takeover fight.
Albiglutide belongs to the same class of injectable GLP-1 medicines as Novo Nordisk's Victoza and Amylin Pharmaceuticals' Byetta and Bydureon.
GSK said on Wednesday it intended to apply to regulators in early 2013, which suggests the drug could reach the market around a year later. By then many analysts believe it will face a battle to compete in an increasingly crowded type 2 diabetes market.
The latest clinical trial results showed albiglutide compared favorably to Merck & Co's diabetes pill Januvia and did not produce any signals of excess cardiovascular risk, GSK said.
Analysts' forecasts for albiglutide currently point to modest annual sales of around $285 million by 2016, according to Thomson Reuters Pharma.
That would make it a relatively minor product for Britain's biggest drugmaker and the medicine is seen as something of a sideshow in the Human Genome takeover fight.
More important for GSK is gaining 100 percent of commercial rights to lupus drug Benlysta, which it shares 50:50 with Human Genome, as well as securing full control of darapladib, a high-risk but potentially very profitable experimental heart drug.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Mike Nesbit)