Japan’s largest drug maker, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, has launched a new treatment for type 2 diabetes. Liovel is a fixed-dose combination tablet of Nesina (alogliptin) and Actos (pioglitazone HCL) and is available in two different strengths. While the drug offers another option for patients who have difficulty maintaining blood sugar and insulin levels, it carries the same risk for bladder cancer as Takeda’s diabetes pill Actos.
Nesina was discovered by Takeda’s San Diego subsidiary and is a member of the Dipeptidyl Peptidase-4 inhibitors class. It increases insulin secretion and lowers blood glucose levels. Actos is a thiazolidinedione, and lowers blood glucose by improving insulin resistance.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently warned doctors and patients that new studies have shown that long-term use of Actos may put users at risk for bladder cancer.
Takeda recently announced that it was actively looking at acquisitions or joint ventures in India and to invest $300 million in China over the next three years. The move is aimed at offsetting expected profit deficiencies from generic competition of Actos in the United States, as well as an anticipated reduction of sales due to news of the bladder cancer risk.
Despite the bad press, the company also plans to heavily promote sales of Actos in China.
Actos is one of Takeda’s top-selling drugs and its top-selling diabetes medication. Actos sales worldwide last year generated $4.8 billion for the drug company.
ACTOS, LIOVEL and NESINA are trademarks of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and used under license by Takeda Pharmaceuticals America, Inc.