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J&J wins EU approval for diabetes combo

Vokanamet combines Invokana and metformin
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Johnson & Johnson's diabetes portfolio continues to grow apace with the news that its combination treatment Vokanamet has been approved in the EU.

Vokanamet combines J&J's already-available Invokana (canagliflozin) with diabetes standard metformin and is now available to be marketed for use in the treatment of adults with type 2 diabetes to improve control of blood sugar levels.

The single pill is taken twice-daily and is intended as a simpler alternative to treatment with separate metformin and Invokana medicines.

As such, the specific recommendation for Vokanamet is in line with Invokana, in that it is recommended for patients who are not adequately controlled on metformin alone and as an 'add-on' to other diabetes medicines, including insulin, when these medicines together do not provide adequate glycaemic control.

Jane Griffiths, company group chairman of J&J's Janssen EMEA division, said: “We are delighted that the European Commission has approved Vokanamet for use in the European Union, recognising the value and the convenience that this combined treatment option provides for patients."

Canagliflozin – the active ingredient in Invokana – is one of a new group of type 2 diabetes treatments know as sodium glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors, which work by blocking the re-absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, causing it to be removed via the urine. This method of action means it complements the function of metformin, which suppresses glucose production by the liver.

J&J isn't the only company to take advantage of this potential and AstraZeneca has already launched a combination of its SGLT-2 inhibitor Forxiga (dapagliflozin) and metformin after receiving approval at the beginning of 2014.

Marketed as Xigduo the combination drug is one of several type 2 diabetes products that AstraZeneca is predicting will see it become one of the leaders in the area.

Boehringer Ingelhim and Lilly are further behind their rivals, only receiving a CHMP recommendation last month for their SGLT-2 inhibitor Jardiance (empagliflozin). A Jardiance/metformin combination is also in the works.

Article by
Thomas Meek

29th April 2014

From: Sales

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