FDA Approves AstraZeneca’s Farxiga for Heart Failure in Adults with Reduced Ejection Fraction


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Tuesday that it has approved dapagliflozin, also known under the brand name Farxiga, for the treatment of heart failure in adults with reduced ejection fraction. The drug can potentially reduce the risk of cardiovascular death and hospitalization for heart failure.

AstraZeneca’s Farxiga is now the first in its drug class of sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors to be approved to treat adults with the New York Heart Association’s functional class II-IV heart failure with reduced ejection fraction. AstraZeneca was granted with the approval of Farxiga related to heart failure by the FDA.

In a clinical trial, Farxiga appeared to improve survival and reduce the need for hospitalization in adults with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction.

 To determine the efficacy of the drug, researchers looked at the number of instances of cardiovascular death, hospitalization for heart failure and urgent heart failure visits. Some trial participants were given a once-daily dose of 10mg of Farxiga, while others were given a placebo. After approximately 18 months, those who were given Farxiga had fewer cardiovascular deaths, hospitalizations for heart failure and urgent heart failure visits compared to their counterparts. 

“Heart failure is a serious health condition that contributes to one in eight deaths in the U.S. and impacts nearly 6.5 million Americans,” said Norman Stockbridge, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Division of Cardiology and Nephrology in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “This approval provides patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction an additional treatment option that can improve survival and reduce the need for hospitalization.”

Farxiga can cause side effects including dehydration, urinary tract infections and genetical yeast infections. It can also potentially result in serious cases of necrotizing fasciitis of the perineum in people with diabetes and low blood sugar when combined with insulin.

On Tuesday, BioCardia, Inc. also announced positive preclinical data supporting its new drug application for anti-inflammatory cell therapy for heart failure. BioCardia’s allogenic neurokinin 1 receptor positive mesenchymal stem cell (NK1R+ MSC) therapy appeared to improve heart function in a study. NK1R+ MSC is being marketed under the name CardiALLO.

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Researchers looked at 26 animals treated with both low dose and high dose CardiALLO in their study. Echocardiographic measures of cardiac ejection fraction, fractional shortening and cardiac outflow all notably improved in the animals.

“In light of these positive data on our allogenic NK1R+ MSC therapy, we expect to meet our internal timeline to complete our submission to the FDA for our first indication for CardiALLO, and potentially receive IND acceptance by the end of the second quarter,” said BioCardia Chief Scientific Officer Ian McNiece, PhD. “The MSCs that were studied are subtypes of MSC that we have delivered previously in our co-sponsored trials, which we believe have enhanced potency over MSC generated from unselected bone marrow cells. We look forward to seeing additional data from this animal study that are currently being analyzed, including histology and pathology of the heart and lungs.”

BioCardia also intends to submit an IND for the use of NK1R+ MSC delivered via intravenous infusion for the treatment of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome caused by COVID-19.

Approximately 6.5 million adults in the U.S. are living with heart failure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection. In 2017, it was a contributing cause of death in one out of eight people.


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