This morning I checked into my database intending to search for some information on lung cancer relating to the SATURN data in maintenance therapy that is being updated at the World Lung Congress in San Francisco.

Instead, the first dozen items were on the FDA approval of Onglyza (saxagliptin).  Oooh.  It seems that the FDA just approved BMS/AZ's joint development in diabetes, talk about a wealth of signalling data all at once.  This product is a me-too, very similar to Merck's Januvia, a billion dollar therapy already on the market.  On checking my emails and Twitter alerts, there was a bunch of information pertaining to Onglyza, Januvia and also Lantus (insulin glargine), sanofi-aventis' novel insulin product recently in the news for potential (but not proven) cancer adverse events.

The amusing thing is that sometimes you forget that you even set these alerts up, but they are very handy when major news or events in the market happen and you have a nice set of warnings and data with which to make a handy assessment of what's going on without having to search for it. 

Even better, 5 mins later a frantic client called asking,

"Help, I'm travelling and need to know the price of Onglyza!  You wouldn't happen to know it would you, please?" 

It took all of 10 seconds to find the intelligence they were looking for in the database – price parity with Merck's Januvia at an average wholesale price of $5.72 per pill for both the 2.5 and 5 mg doses, which seemed to surprise them.  Novartis also have a similar DPP-4 therapy on the market, Galvus, although it not yet approved in the US. 

This market segment is now set for some very serious competition between some heavyweight players, especially as many of the older therapies cause weight gain or do not control blood sugar levels optimally.  Merck's product has done reasonably well, but a wake up call has happened and it will be interesting to see how they respond to competition.

What I'm wondering though, is what patients switching to Onglyza or receiving the therapy de novo will be posting via blogs and social media over the next few months.  It would be an interesting exercise to track if anyone is interested, because these sentiments may help redefine messaging and positioning of the brand against the competition and vice versa for other existing diabetes therapies.  The neat thing is that some web2.0 tools can even enable you to do this in real time.

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