Diabetes Drug Canagliflozin Approved By FDA Panel

A diabetes drug developed by Johnson & Johnson has received the go-ahead from a panel of advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The new diabetes drug is canagliflozin, which will be marketed under the brand name Invokana.

Reuters reports that Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drug Advisory Committee by a majority vote recommended that the FDA approve canagliflozin because “it proved effective at lowering blood sugar in patients with diabetes, though some panelists had lingering concerns about its potential to cause cardiovascular problems and recommended longer term follow-up.”

About 371 million people worldwide (and 26 million in the US) are estimated to be afflicted with diabetes; type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the fast growing disease, accounting for about 90 percent of all cases in the world. Diabetes is a chronic illness that can lead to heart attacks, blindness and kidney failure.

Financial analysts suggest that the new diabetes drug could generate somewhere between $1 and $2 billion in yearly sales for Johnson & Johnson if the agency approves it on or before March 29.

According to Reuters, canagliflozin “is a member of a new class of diabetes drugs known as sodium-glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors which lower blood sugar by blocking reabsorbtion of glucose by the kidney and increasing the excretion of glucose in urine.”

Responding to the committee’s 10-5 vote in favor of the diabetes drug, a Johnson & Johnson official said “we are pleased with the positive recommendation from the committee and look forward to working with the FDA to bring this important new therapy to patients in the U.S. to help them manage their type 2 diabetes,” according to Fox Business.