AstraZeneca to Test if Diabetes Drug Can Save Covid-19 Patients

AstraZeneca is embarking on a late-stage trial to see if its diabetes drug Farxiga can save the lives of Covid-19 patients.
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AstraZeneca's  (AZN) - Get Report decision to test its diabetes drug Farxiga on patients seriously ill from Covid-19 roused a bit of investor enthusiasm Thursday.

Shares of AstraZeneca edged up 0.22% to $50.47 a share after the British drug development giant announced plans to launch a late-stage trial of its diabetes drug Farxiga on Covid-19 patients who are in danger of developing serious complications such as organ failure.

AstraZeneca and St. Luke's Mid America Heart Institute plan to enroll 900 patients in the Phase 3 trial, "Dare-19," at St. Luke's in Kansas City, Mo., and at other locations in Europe.

The aim of the trial is to determine whether Farxiga can lower the risk of death and clinical complications in patients who have "cardiovascular CV, metobolic or kidney risk factors," AstraZeneca said in a press statement.

AstraZeneca said it was embarking on the late-stage trial after results from earlier trials have produced "extensive data on the protective effect of Farxiga in patients with heart failure ... chronic kidney disease (CKD) or type 2 diabetes (T2D)."

Overall, patients with cardiometabolic disease have been at the "highest risk of morbid complications," said Dr. Mikhail Kosiborod, a cardiologist at St. Luke's and principal investigator on the Dare-19 trial, in a press statement.

"Through Dare-19, we hope to decrease the severity of illness, and prevent cardiovascular, respiratory and kidney decompensation, Dr. Kosiborod said.

Still, AstraZeneca's Dare-19 trial joins a crowded field, with similar testing underway by several companies around the world aimed at repurposing existing drugs or developing new drugs aimed at reducing complications and death from Covid-19.