July 28, 2020 / 6:28 AM / 7 days ago

AstraZeneca diabetes drug shows promise in severe kidney condition

(Reuters) - AstraZeneca’s (AZN.L) diabetes treatment has shown promise in a late-stage trial to help to slow chronic kidney disease, putting it on track for possible expanded approvals ahead of rival drugs.

FILE PHOTO: 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/File Photo

The British drugmaker said on Tuesday that the treatment - Farxiga - which is used for the most common form of diabetes, helped to improve renal function or reduced the risk of death compared with a placebo in diabetic and non-diabetic patients in a study.

Diabetes is known to have knock-on effects for the heart and kidneys, prompting many drugmakers to test their diabetes treatments on conditions affecting these organs.

Farxiga is part of the SGLT2-inhibitor class of antidiabetics which also includes Eli Lilly (LLY.N) and Boehringer Ingelheim’s Jardiance and Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ.N) Invokana.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration put Jardiance up for a speedy review for a similar setting, but the drug has yet to receive approval. Farxiga was granted this status by the FDA last year.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a serious, progressive condition which affects nearly 700 million people worldwide, and has limited treatment options.

The positive data from AstraZeneca’s late-stage DAPA-CKD trial also comes nearly three months after U.S. regulators approved Farxiga as a medicine for heart failure in certain patients, regardless of their diabetes status.

Farxiga had sales of $1.54 billion (1.2 billion pounds) in 2019, making it among AstaZeneca’s top five treatments in terms of revenue.

The AstraZeneca trial also met all of its secondary goals, the company said.

Its shares were up 0.5% to 8,690 pence at 0850 GMT.

Reporting by Aakash Jagadeesh Babu and Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru. Editing by Bernard Orr and Jane Merriman

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