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As oncologists race forward with new treatments verging on science fiction and biotech companies press on with drugs for once-hopeless rare disorders, one of the world’s most pervasive diseases looks like it’s been left behind.

There are few new drugs on the horizon for diabetes, which affects about 29 million Americans. Most of the treatments in late-stage development are simply improved versions of what’s out there — taken weekly versus daily, or orally instead of by injection.

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