AstraZeneca’s Farxiga clears late-stage heart-failure study

The company logo for pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is displayed on a screen on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., April 8, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) – British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc said on Tuesday that its diabetes drug Farxiga was successful in reducing the risk of death by heart attack or the worsening of a type of heart failure in a late-stage study.

Farxiga met the main goal of the DAPA-HF trial which tested the treatment in addition to the standard treatment in patients whose heart cannot pump enough blood and included those with or without type-2 diabetes, the company said.

The results are welcome news for AstraZeneca after regulators in the United States declined to approved Farxiga for use as a supplement to insulin in adults with type-1 diabetes where insulin alone was not able to control blood sugar levels.

“This (the study results) will give the drug broad applicability and is strong validation of its utility, particularly in diabetics,” Liberum analysts said.

“The result will also reinforce Farxiga’s utility in diabetes at a time when oral GLP-1 might enter the market.”

Farxiga belongs to a class of medicines called SGLT2 inhibitors, which control blood sugar levels by causing the kidneys to expel sugar from the body through urine.

GLP-1 drugs on the other hand imitate an intestinal hormone that stimulates the production of insulin. Danish insulin producer Novo Nordisk has already grabbed a chunk of the diabetes market with its GLP-1 drug Ozempic here.

Farxiga, one of AstraZeneca’s top 10 drugs by sales, is already approved for use in type-2 diabetes, the more common form of the condition.

AstraZeneca shares were up 1.6% at 7,398 pence as of 0709 GMT.

Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham

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