AstraZeneca PLC (AZN - Free Report) announced detailed data from the phase III DAPA-CKD study, which evaluated its SGLT2 inhibitor Farxiga (dapagliflozin) in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) with and without type-2 diabetes (T2D). Results from the study showed that treatment with the diabetes medicine Farxiga significantly reduced the composite measure of worsening of renal function or risk of death by 39% compared to placebo in patients with CKD Stages 2-4 and those with elevated urinary albumin excretion with and without T2D.
In July 2020, AstraZeneca announced that Farxiga met all primary and secondary endpoints in the DAPA-CKD study. Notably, Farxiga is the first medicine to significantly improve the survival rate in a renal outcomes study for the given patient population.
The DAPA-CKD outcomes study is being conducted to see Farxiga’s effect on the renal outcomes and the cardiovascular (CV) mortality rate in patients with or without T2D suffering CKD.
Shares of AstraZeneca have rallied 11.7% so far this year compared with the industry’s increase of 1.4%.
Notably, DAPA-CKD is part of AstraZeneca’s DapaCare clinical program to explore the CV and the renal profile of Farxiga in T2D patients.
Meanwhile, several other outcomes studies are also ongoing on Farxiga for heart failure indications. In May 2020, the FDA approved the drug’s label expansion as a treatment to reduce the risk of CV death and hHF in adults with HF with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) with and without T2D. It is being studied in the DELIVER study to evaluate its effect on patients with heart failure (HF) with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) as well as in the DAPA-MI study for evaluating patients without T2D following an acute myocardial infarction (MI) or heart attack.
Farxiga/Forxiga, a key top-line driver of AstraZeneca, generated sales worth $848 million in the first six months of 2020, representing 21% growth at constant exchange rates. Farxiga enjoys global leadership with a significant market share.
Other SGLT2 inhibitors available in the market are Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ - Free Report) Invokana and Lilly’s (LLY - Free Report) Jardiance, Synjardy (a fixed dose combination of Jardiance and metformin) and Glyxambi (a fixed dose combination of Jardiance and Tradjenta).
Zacks Rank & Key Pick
AstraZeneca currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A better-ranked stock in the healthcare sector is Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (VRTX - Free Report) , which sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Vertex’s earnings estimates have moved 9.3% and 2.4% north for 2020 and 2021, respectively, over the past 60 days. The stock has rallied 23.3% year to date.
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