AstraZeneca: Forxiga Approved in Japan for the Treatment of Chronic Kidney Disease in Patients With and Without Type-2 Diabetes


AstraZeneca’s Forxiga (dapagliflozin), a sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor, has been approved in Japan for the treatment of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in adults with and without type-2 diabetes (T2D).

The approval by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) is based on positive results from the DAPA-CKD Phase III trial. The decision follows the Priority Review designation granted by the MHLW earlier this year.

CKD is a serious, progressive condition defined by decreased kidney function and is often associated with an increased risk of heart disease or stroke. The condition affects 840 million people worldwide. However, diagnosis rates remain low and up to 90% of patients are unaware they have the disease. Forxiga is the first ever approved medicine for the treatment of the disease in Japan.

The national coordinator of the DAPA-CKD Phase III trial in Japan, Naoki Kashihara, President of the Japanese Society of Nephrology, said: “DAPA-CKD is the landmark trial that demonstrated unprecedented risk reduction for chronic kidney disease patients with and without type-2 diabetes. This transformational milestone will bring great hope to many patients with chronic kidney disease in Japan.”

Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President, BioPharmaceuticals R&D, said: “This approval is an important step towards realising our ambition of improving outcomes for patients with chronic kidney disease. While new medicines like Forxiga advance the standard of care, we are also committed to the prevention and early detection of this often debilitating and life-threatening disease.”

The DAPA-CKD Phase III trial demonstrated that Forxiga, on top of standard-of-care (SoC) treatment with an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor or an angiotensin receptor blocker, reduced the relative risk of worsening of renal function, onset of end-stage kidney disease (ESKD), or risk of cardiovascular (CV) or renal death by 39%, the primary composite endpoint, compared to placebo (absolute risk reduction [ARR]=5.3%, p<0.0001) in patients with CKD Stages 2-4 and elevated urinary albumin excretion. Forxiga also significantly reduced the relative risk of death from any cause by 31% (ARR=2.1%, p=0.0035) compared to placebo. The safety and tolerability of Forxiga were consistent with the well-established safety profile of the medicine.

Forxiga (known as Farxiga in the US) was recently approved in the US and the European Union for the treatment of CKD in adults with and without T2D and is currently under review in several other countries around the world. Forxiga is indicated as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycaemic control in adults with T2D and as an oral adjunct treatment to insulin for adults with type-1 diabetes (T1D). It is also approved for the treatment of symptomatic chronic heart failure (HF) with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) in adults with and without T2D.

In 2013, AstraZeneca K.K. (AZKK), a subsidiary in Japan of AstraZeneca, entered into an agreement with Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (Ono) for Forxiga. Based on this agreement, Ono is responsible for distribution and marketing of Forxiga in Japan and has been co-promoting it with AZKK for the treatment of T2D, T1D and chronic HF. Both Companies will co-promote for the treatment of CKD.

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