Lilly Rises as Study Shows Diabetes Drug Cuts Cardiac Risk

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A diabetes drug sold by Eli Lilly & Co. and Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH lowered the risk of heart attacks, stroke and death in a large trial of adults with type 2 diabetes, compared with the standard of care alone.

Shares of Indianapolis-based Lilly rose 4.2 percent to $87.33 at the close in New York. Merck & Co., whose top-selling drug Januvia is also a pill for diabetes, fell 4.5 percent to $56.95, the most since 2011.

In a trial of 7,000 people at high risk of cardiovascular events, patients taking Lilly and Boehringer’s drug Jardiance were less likely to have a heart attack, stroke or die than those taking a placebo, the companies said in a statement. Patients in the trial were getting other drugs to control their diabetes.

The results could give Lilly and Boehringer an advantage in a market crowded with diabetes treatments, where Merck, Sanofi, Johnson & Johnson and Novo Nordisk A/S have battled to win patients and doctors to their therapies.

Lilly and Boehringer said that the results make their drug the only one to show a reduction in cardiovascular death in a trial specifically designed to look for it. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among type 2 diabetics, according to the American Heart Association.

The companies plans to present full results of the study at a medical meeting next month.

Novo dropped 2.4 percent to 383.30 kroner. Sanofi fell 1.6 percent to 91.92 euros.

Jardiance belongs to a class of diabetes drugs called SGLT-2 inhibitors. The drugs block sugar from being absorbed into the kidneys, and instead excrete excess sugar through the urine, helping control diabetes. J&J and AstraZeneca Plc have competing SGLT-2 drugs.

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