Astellas Pharma Inc.
) recently joined forces with
Merck & Co. Inc. (
for the co-promotion of its sodium-glucose co-transporter 2
(SGLT2) inhibitor, ipragliflozin (ASP1941).
As per the terms of the agreement, Merck will co-promote
ipragliflozin with Astellas and Kotobuki Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
Astellas will be solely responsible for the manufacture and sale
of ipragliflozin. We remind investors that Astellas and Kotobuki
Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd already have a research collaboration for
We note that Astellas submitted a marketing authorization
application for ipragliflozin, to the Ministry of Health, Labour
and Welfare in Japan, in Mar 2013. Astellas is looking to get
ipragliflozin approved for the treatment of type II diabetes.
The application was based on a phase III pivotal study on
ipragliflozin as monotherapy for the treatment of type II
diabetes. The study showed a significant reduction in HbA1c
levels. Astellas conducted six phase III studies to investigate
the long-term safety and efficacy of ipragliflozin in combination
with other hypoglycemic agents. Results showed effectiveness and
a favorable safety profile.
The approval of ipragliflozin in Japan will enhance Astellas'
We note that Astellas was in the news recently when it
launched Astagraf XL in the U.S. Astagraf XL was approved in the
U.S. in Jul 2013 for the prophylaxis of organ rejection in
patients receiving a kidney transplant used with mycophenolate
mofetil (MMF) and corticosteroids, with or without basiliximab
Astellas carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Both the companies
have significant experience in the diabetes market.Other stocks
that look attractive include
Biogen Idec Inc
). Both these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
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