Pharma giants to collaborate on new type 2 diabetes drug

Tue, 30 Apr 2013
Pharmaceutical companies Merck and Co has announced it will work together with rival firm Pfizer to co-develop and commercialise Pfizer's experimental type 2 diabetes drug ertugliflozin.

Ertugliflozin belongs to a new class of anti-diabetic medications called sodium glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, which help control blood glucose levels by preventing the kidneys from reabsorbing glucose back into the blood.

Under the new partnership, Merck and Pfizer will join in clinical development and commercialisation of ertugliflozin as a standalone product and as a combination treatment with Merck's blockbuster drug Januvia (sitagliptin) and metformin.

"Through this collaboration, we believe we can build on Merck's leadership position in diabetes care with the introduction of ertugliflozin, an innovative SGLT2 inhibitor discovered by Pfizer scientists," John Young, president and general manager of Pfizer Primary Care, said.

The oral drug will begin Phase III clinical trials later this year, the last stage of testing, before attempting to gain regulatory approval in the US.

The collaboration comes a month after Johnson and Johnson became the first drug manufacturer to have an SGLT2 inhibitor approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Invokana (canagliflozin) tablets obtained FDA approval for improving glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes, alongside diet and exercise.
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