Bayer lines up a phase III trial for its dual-threat heart failure hopeful
- Researchers are evaluating Bayer's finerenone for treatment of chronic heart failure and diabetic kidney disease.
- Finerenone is a mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist (MRA), which is effective in treating salt-related hypertension. It has a major advantage over other drugs in this class, such as Pfizer's spironolactone, because unlike those other drugs, finerenone does not significantly elevate blood potassium levels. In worst-case scenarios, elevated blood potassium could lead to heart attack.
- In phase II trials, finerenone-treated patients were hospitalized less frequently and less likely to die during the 90-day treatment period, compared with controls, who were treated with eplerenone.
As Bayer moves into phase III, the goal is to enroll 3,500 patients who have been diagnosed with both heart failure and diabetes, or heart failure and kidney disease. Bayer's researchers are particulary excited about the upcoming trial, because this is the first MRA that is being developed in parallel for treatment of chronic heart failure and diabetic kidney disease.
This is important because of the strong interconnection between cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes and kidney disease. With respect to heart failure, in particular, both kdiney disease and diabetes are independent risk factors for the development of heart failure.
In fact, according to the American Society of Nephrology, heart disease is the primary cause of death for more than 20 million people in the U.S. with chronic kidney disease, and patients who are undergoing kidney dialysis are 10 to 30 times as likely to die from CVD than the general population.