ATLANTA ( TheStreet) -- A study found that Novartis AG's ( NVS) Diovan blood-pressure drug lowered the incidence of diabetes in some high-risk patients, according to a published media report.
But the drug failed to reduce the risk of heart attacks and related diseases in the patients, the report added. The study, funded by Novartis and called "Navigator," found that Diovan reduced the risk of diabetes by 14%, according to the report, published Sunday on The Wall Street Journal's Web site. But the failure to reduce the risk of heart attacks and other complications of diabetes offsets Diovan's success at reducing the risk of diabetes, said David Nathan, director of the Diabetes Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, who was quoted in the report. The study also looked at another Novartis drug, called Starlix, to see whether it could reduce prevent diabetes and reduce heart attacks in high-risk patients, the report said. But Starlix failed at both goals. The Starlix failure shouldn't be a big blow for Novartis, as Starlix is already available as a generic, and its sales aren't material to the company, the report noted. Diovan will lose its patent protection in most major Western markets by late 2012, the report said. The study results were presented at Sunday at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Cardiology in Atlanta, the report noted. Shares of Novartis closed Friday down 4 cents at $54.70.