A diabetes drug from Switzerland's Roche Holding AG showed promising results in a mid-stage trial and will be developed further, the company said on Monday.

Aleglitazar, part of a class of drugs known as PPAR co-agonists, which affect both glucose and fat control, appeared to be safe and well tolerated, an important factor given concerns over other similar medicines, said slides prepared for a presentation to analysts and posted on Roche's website.

The results of the so-called Synchrony study, which compared aleglitazar with Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd's pioglitazone, are due to be presented at the American Diabetes Association annual meeting in New Orleans.

The Roche drug, which will move into late stage clinical trials based on the data, has functional similarities with glitazone medicines, which include pioglitazone — sold as Actos or Glustin — and GlaxoSmithKline Plc's Avandia.

Both of those drugs have shown they are effective for blood glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the body loses its ability to use insulin to convert food to fuel. But they also have a number of safety concerns, including an increased risk of heart failure.

In the phase II trial with 332 patients over 16 weeks, aleglitazar showed benefits compared with both placebo and pioglitazone, Roche said.