Diabetes Drug Jardiance Prevents Heart Attacks and Strokes in Trial

Diabetes Drug Jardiance Prevents Heart Attacks and Strokes in Trial

The first diabetes drug shown to lower the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients with diabetes, has been developed by Eli Lilly & Co. and Boehringer Ingelheim. Jardiance is the first in its drug class to reduce death from cardiovascular causes, in clinical trials.

While a diabetes diagnoses increases a patient’s risk of heart disease and stroke, no approved diabetes drugs have been able to reduce this risk. The act of treating diabetes does not necessarily reduce a person’s susceptibility to developing potentially life-threatening cardiovascular disease.

The new cardiovascular (CV) outcome study, named EMPA-REG OUTCOME, studied over 7,000 diabetic adults considered to be at a high risk of heart attack or stroke, due in part to their Type-2 diabetes. Treating these patients with Jardiance – a sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitor (SGLT2) – along with their established standard of care, significantly reduced the risk of death due to cardiovascular causes.

Hans-Juergen Woerle, global VP of medicine at Boehringer Ingelheim said, “The cardiovascular risk reduction Jardiance demonstrated in the EMPA-REG OUTCOME trial is exciting, and we look forward to sharing the full results. Approximately 50% of deaths in people with Type 2 diabetes worldwide are caused by cardiovascular disease. Reducing cardiovascular risk is an essential component of diabetes management.”

The study results have given Jardiance a leg-up in the increasingly competitive diabetes market. It has become more common for payers to limit pricing freedoms on diabetes medications, and pharmaceuticals in over-represented drug classes must fight for a spot on the payer’s formulary.

Jardiance faces competition from both AstraZeneca’s Farxiga, and Johnson & Johnson’s Invokana, both of which are members of the SGLT2 drug class. The competition for insurance coverage also occurs between the drug classes, so these trial results may influence doctors to prescribe Jardiance over another non-insulin diabetes medication. Across the drug classes, Jardiance’s main competitors include Januvia, a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor, developed by Merck & Co., and Victoza, a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist, developed by Novo Nordisk.

“DPP-4s are generally well tolerated, neutral on weight and have for the most part been viewed as safe,” said Evercore ISI analyst Mark Schoenebaum. “However, DPP-4 inhibitors have failed to demonstrate a CV outcomes benefit. After today, given the CV benefit from […] SGLT2 inhibitor Jardiance, we expect doctors will be more eager to prescribe SGLT-2s in front of DPP-4s.”