Excitement over Jardiance may come at Merck's expense
- Last week, new data from Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) showing that Jardiance (empagliflozin) decreases risk of cardiovascular (CVD)-related events and deaths, was announced.
- The overall market for diabetes drugs is $63 billion.
- People with diabetes are 80% more likely to have a heart attack and 50% more likely to die from a stroke than people without diabetes. Many experts think that the focus on CVD health may give Jardiance an advantage in the marketplace over drugs such as Merck's Januvia.
Merck's Januvia is often used as treatment for diabetes when metformin is not enough to control blood glucose. Diabetes is treated in a stepwise fashion, generally starting with metformin and adding on various classes of drugs over time. Given the new data published about Jardiance, Jardiance could become the go-to drug after metformin.
As mentioned in BioPharma Dive's coverage last week, the positive news about Jardiance, which is an SGLT-2 inhibitor could bode well for the entire class, including Johnson & Johnsons Invokana and Bristol-Myers Squibb's Farxiga.
Merck has not been actively developing in the diabetes space lately and has instead been focusing more on immuno-oncology. Nonetheless, Januvia is a $6 billion drug and lost diabetes sales would not be good for Merck. The details of the Jardiance study will be presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Stockholm in September.