These longer-acting basal insulins may only need to be injected twice a week, rather than once or twice daily.
If late-stage human trials currently underway are successful, these second-generation analogue insulins could be on the market in the next three years.
Novo Nordisk is developing two such products, which it describes as ‘ultra long acting new generation' insulins.
One has a very ‘flat' profile - maintaining a steady effect over a long period - and is being tested for use three times a week. Another includes a boost of bolus insulin and is designed to be injected at meal times.
Both are being tested for type-1 diabetes in combination with rapid-acting analogues and for type-2 diabetes on their own and in combination with metformin and pioglitazone.
Head-to-head trials are also comparing these longer-acting analogues with biphasic insulins and long-acting analogue insulins.
These second-generation products have been designed to improve the way that insulin is delivered to the liver and thereby produce a flatter action profile.