Intarcia Therapeutics Inc. is about to pull the trigger on the second stage of a three-way partnership that could provide the biotech's once-yearly exenatide with a faster path to market in diabetes.

Step one was a December pact in which CRO Quintiles Transnational Corp. became both a financial and a development partner in the biotech's ITCA 650. The product is a subcutaneously implanted Duros osmotic mini-pump that continuously delivers the GLP-1 agonist exenatide for up to a year. It is ready to enter Phase III trials.