A new class of drugs called SGLT-2 inhibitors has demonstrated significant reduction of risks associated with death and hospitalization for heart failure in diabetes patients, compared to other therapies. The data was presented at the American College of Cardiology scientific meeting in Washington. (See also, Sanofi, Voluntis Ink Diabetes Tech Pact.)

Study Indicates Major Benefits

In a global study sponsored by AstraZeneca of 300,000 patients with type 2 diabetes, the achieved results confirm the higher efficacy of the new class of drugs, which includes AstraZeneca PLC’s (AZN) Farxiga (dapagliflozin), Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY) and Boehringer Ingelheim’s Jardiance (empagliflozin), and Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ) Invokana (canagliflozin).

Overall, these drugs decreased the rate of hospitalization for heart failure by 39%, and the rate of death from any cause by 51%, compared to other type 2 diabetes therapies.

The analysis for hospitalization for heart failure was conducted on patient data from Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden, U.K. and the U.S., while the analysis for death from heart failure was conducted on patient data from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, U.K. and the U.S. Around 42% of the patients were on AstraZeneca’s Farxiga, around 53% on JNJ’s Invokana, and rest on Jardiance.

An important aspect of the results achieved from the new class of SGLT-2 inhibitors was that they remained consistent across geographies. Invokana, which was approved by the U.S. Food And Drug Administration (FDA) in March 2013, was the favorite among Americans, while Farxiga had a larger market share across the European region.

Jardiance, which was approved in 2014, demonstrated in a separate 2015 trial that it significantly decreased the combined risk of hospitalization or death attributed to heart failure for diabetic patients.

The SGLT-2 inhibitors work by removing glucose in the blood through urine. With heart diseases directly attributable to diabetes leading to severe conditions like need for hospitalization and even death, the results from the large-sized global study providing sufficient evidence about heart protective features of SGLT-2 drugs could mean a greater good to patients and the pharma companies. As a new drug class takes shape, the traditional therapy makers may need to rework their strategies in the highly competitive diabetes drug market. (See also, Roche Restructuring Shows Trouble in US Diabetes Biz.)

Want to learn how to invest?

Get a free 10 week email series that will teach you how to start investing.

Delivered twice a week, straight to your inbox.