Lilly/BI's Jardiance could be the first diabetes med to cut heart attack, stroke risk
- In a large clinical trial, people with diabetes who were treated with Jardiance (empagliflozin) had a significantly fewer cardiac deaths and non-fatal heart attacks or strokes, compared with patients treated with standard of care.
- Jardiance, which is co-marketed by Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim (BI), is an SGLT-2 inhibitor, which works by blocking SGLT2, thereby inhibiting the reabsorption of glucose in the kidney.
- This not only bodes well for Jardiance's image, but for the overall class of SGLT 2 inhibitors, which also includes Johnson & Johnson's Ivokana and AstraZeneca's Farxiga.
According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes face a two-fold risk of having a heart attack or a stroke, compared to people without diabetes. In fact, 2/3 of people with diabetes die of cardiovascular disease. In the EMPA-REG OUTCOME study, 7,000 people with diabetes were studied to assess the impact of treatment with Jardiance on risk of CVD events. As researchers tracked study subjects over a three-year period, they observed that the Jardiance-treated patients had significantly fwer CVD events and deaths, compared with subjects treated with standard-of-care treatments.
The implications for SGLT-2 inhibitors as a class is very positive, according to Sanford Bernstein analyst Tim Anderson. This new data bodes well for the class overall, which already has the benefit of providing modest decreases in body weight and blood pressure. Though there is a great deal of combination therapy involved in treating patients with diabetes, there is also competition among different classes of drugs, such as DPP-4 drugs (eg, Januvia from Merck) or GLP-1 treatments (Victoza from Novo Nordisk). This is a big boost for SGLT-2 inhibitors, which were first introduced in March 2013 when Invokana (canagliflozin) was approved.
Lilly and BI will release full results of the EMPA-REG OUTCOME study on September 17 at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, which will be held in Stockholm. Lilly's stick was up 2.8% when the news was released.