ADA: AstraZeneca's Farxiga scores in kidney outcomes study, cutting risks 47%

Sales of AstraZeneca's Farxiga grew 23% last quarter. (AstraZeneca)

SAN FRANCISCO—AstraZeneca doesn't yet have the same heart-helping outcomes data for Farxiga that its rivals can boast for their SGLT2 contenders. But the company thinks it may have something better.

Sunday, the annual Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association in San Francisco, the British drugmaker trotted out results from an outcomes study, dubbed Declare, that showed Farxiga could trigger a 47% reduction in the combined risk of kidney function decline, end-stage renal disease and renal death in Type 2 diabetes patients.

That figure is “very clinically meaningful,” especially in light of the fact that “the first complications that patients with Type 2 diabetes get” are heart failure and chronic kidney disease—not heart attack or stroke, said Elisabeth Björk, senior vice president and head of late-stage cardiovascular, renal and metabolism development.

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And the 17,000-patient Declare study has already yielded positive results in heart failure. Last November, results showed Farxiga could cut hospitalizations for heart failure or cardiovascular death by 17% against placebo.

The two data sets come together “very, very nicely, and we are excited and proud,” Björk added. And the data are going to “stop physicians to think about how they’re treating diabetes and the complications associated with it,” Kiersten Combs, AZ’s U.S. VP of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, added.

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AstraZeneca hopes so, at least. Lately, Farxiga has racked up some success; the med’s sales grew by 23% in the first quarter versus the same period last year, with the therapy showing “really, really good growth in a really competitive space,” Combs said. Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly’s Jardiance and Johnson & Johnson’s Invokana, though, both boast indications based on their cardiovascular outcomes data that Farxiga can’t yet tout.

The way AZ executives see it, though, any growth for the class is a win. “I think that as the science of SGLT2s evolves, whether it’s with our product or with competitors’, it is raising the awareness of the class and the use of this class in this patient population,” Combs said. But at the end of the day, she believes the Declare data in particular will “accelerate growth for our brand.”