Interest remains high in drugs for diabetes that force glucose out of the bloodstream and into urine: An FDA advisory committee recommend approval of one such agent, canagliflozin, while Eli Lilly and Boehringer- Ingelheim announced favorable results from phase III studies with another agent called empagliflozin.
Drugs in this class inhibit SGLT-2, a sodium glucose transporter molecule, which impels the kidneys to extract and excrete glucose from the bloodstream.
One of the studies tested empagliflozin as monotherapy for patients with type 2 diabetes, while two others evaluated it as an adjunct to other standard drugs including metformin, sulfonylurea agents, and pioglitazone (Actos). The fourth was primarily a safety study in patients with renal impairment.
The studies met their primary efficacy endpoint, the companies said, which was a significant reduction in glycated hemoglobin relative to the placebo groups.
Although the pioneering compound in this class, dapagliflozin, was rejected last year by the FDA, companies still believe that such drugs can be blockbuster products because they reduce blood sugar so directly.