AstraZeneca's diabetes drug Farxiga cuts risk of CV death or worsening of heart failure by 26% in landmark study
About two weeks after AstraZeneca’s $AZN unveiled its diabetes treatment Farxiga cut the risk of CV death or the worsening of heart failure in patients with heart disease, in a landmark trial — over the weekend the British drugmaker presented detailed data at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress in Paris.
The results emanated from the 4,744-patient DAPA-HF trial, which tested Farxiga in patients with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) — in which the heart muscle is not able to contract amply and, therefore, expels less oxygen-rich blood into the body — on standard of care treatment, including those with and without type-II diabetes.
Farxiga reduced the composite endpoint of cardiovascular (CV) death or worsening of heart failure by 26% (p<0.0001) — including a reduction in each of the individual components of the endpoint. Data showed there was a 30% decrease (p<0.0001) in the risk of experiencing a first episode of worsening heart failure and an 18% cut (p=0.0294) in the risk of death from cardiovascular causes.
Farxiga “did all the things we would like any drug to do in heart failure, which are to improve symptoms, reduce hospital admissions and increase survival. Even better, Farxiga was as effective in heart failure patients without diabetes as in those with diabetes,” John McMurray of the University of Glasgow said in a statement on Sunday.
Patients with diabetes are often afflicted with other comorbidities, such as obesity, CV disease and kidney problems. SGLT2 makers have been vying for a bigger market share by differentiating their drugs on the basis of therapeutic impact on renal impairment — but the major, most lucrative battleground is the heart.
Farxiga, akin to J&J’s $JNJ Invokana and Eli Lilly’s $LLY Jardiance, belong to a class of diabetes drugs called sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, which work by curbing the absorption of glucose via the kidneys so that surplus glucose is excreted through urination.
Last year, AstraZeneca presented mixed data on Farxiga from a large study in type-II diabetes patients at risk for CV disease or established CV disease. In the DECLARE-TIMI 58 trial, which included more than 17,000 patients, Farxiga met one of the main goals by conferring a statistically-significant reduction in the composite endpoint of hospitalization for heart failure or CV death. But it failed to clear the co-primary endpoint of reducing major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) versus placebo.
Farxiga, which was approved for use in type-II diabetes back in 2014 — whose sales underwhelmed analyst expectations in the second quarter — is also being developed for patients with heart failure in the DELIVER (HFpEF) and DETERMINE (HFrEF and HFpEF) trials, in addition to chronic kidney disease in the DAPA-CKD trial. Its rivals are testing their diabetes offerings in a range of heart and kidney trials as well.
Months ago, Invokana data indicated the drug conferred cardiovascular (CV) benefit in patients who do and do not have preexisting CV disease.
Social image: AstraZeneca, AP Images