Johnson & Johnson is arguing that its type 2 diabetes treatment Invokana should have the same life-saving capabilities as its rival drug Jardiance showed in a new, large clinical trial.
Jardiance, made by Eli Lilly and Co., announced last month results from a three-year study that showed Jardiance cut death risk by 32 percent in patients with type 2 diabetes at risk of heart attack and stroke. The news sent prescriptions for the drug skyrocketing, nearly doubling for the quarter to $340 million.
Johnson & Johnson, whose drug Invokana shares the same class as Jardiance, wants in on that action. Dominic Caruso, the company’s chief financial officer last week said that the benefit seen with Jardiance would likely be seen with all drugs in the SGLT2 inhibitor class. “We do think there’s a positive effect to the overall class as a result of the cardiovascular data that Lilly shared,” he said.
Invokana was the first SGLT2 inhibitor to hit the market in 2013, followed by Jardiance and Farxiga the following year. However, the news has launched Jardiance into the top-selling spot among others in the class.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires all makers of diabetes drugs to conduct large cardiovascular studies. Johnson & Johnson’s trial data isn’t expected until 2017.
If SGLT2 inhibitors share the same benefits, as Johnson & Johnson claims, then they likely share the same adverse effects. In May, the FDA warned that SGLT3 inhibitors could cause a dangerous buildup of acid in the blood, known as ketoacidosis.
In September, the agency ordered Johnson & Johnson to update the label of Invokana and its similar diabetes drug Invokamet to include stronger warnings for the risk of bone fractures and a decreased bone mineral density. The drug also increases fall risk. The agency didn’t require the update to the labels of other SGLT2 drugs, but said it was investigating whether other drugs in the class carry the same level of bone fracture risk.