Lilly and BI, following their SGLT2 rivals, plot kidney disease study for Jardiance

SAN DIEGO—Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim have reason to believe their SGLT2 inhibitor, Jardiance, may improve outcomes for chronic kidney disease patients—so they’re putting the med to the test.

On Monday, in the middle of the American Diabetes Association’s annual meeting, the pair announced plans to run a new outcomes trial specifically aimed at assessing Jardiance in kidney disease patients, both with and without diabetes.

The companies based the decision on data from Empa-Reg Outcome, the cardiovascular outcomes trial that made headlines back in 2015 by showing Jardiance could cut the risk of major CV events by 14% and the risk of cardiovascular death by 38%.

RELATED: Reduce CV events, check. Now, Lilly, BI's Jardiance shows it can cut kidney disease risk, too

At last year’s ADA meeting, the drugmakers unveiled a new analysis of the study showing that Jardiance had posted a 55% reduction in the initiation of renal replacement therapy, such as dialysis.

It also slashed two measures that are indicators of kidney problems. The med delivered a 44% reduction in the doubling of creatinine, a waste product usually filtered by the kidneys, in the blood; that's a common indicator of worsening kidney function. And it cut the rate of progression to macroalbuminuria, or very high levels of the albumin protein in the urine, by 38%.

RELATED: Not to be left behind in the SGLT2 race, AZ launches heart, kidney failure outcomes studies for Farxiga

And this past weekend, Lilly and BI rolled out more data showing that Jardiance “has the potential to slow renal function decline, including patients at high risk for progressive kidney disease,” investigators wrote in an abstract.

BI and Lilly aren’t the only drugmakers in search of a kidney-helping indication, though. Both AstraZeneca, maker of Farxiga, and Johnson & Johnson, which manufactures Invokana, are already studying their SGLT2 meds’ effects in renal outcomes studies of their own.