3 Tremendously Promising Diabetes Drugs Potentially on the Way — The Motley Fool

Here’s the scary thing about diabetes: Over 30 million Americans have it, with an additional 1.4 million new diagnoses each year. The disease is the seventh-highest cause of death in the U.S.

Those are concerning statistics, but there are also some numbers that provide hope. Over 170 new medicines are currently in development targeting treatment of diabetes and diabetes-related conditions. Here are three of the most promising diabetes drugs from five of the most innovative drugmakers in the world: Merck (NYSE:MRK), Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), Lexicon Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:LXRX), Sanofi (NYSE:SNY), and Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO).

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1. Ertugliflozin

Merck and Pfizer are collaborating on development of ertugliflozin, an experimental drug for treating patients with type 2 diabetes. The drug could be approved in the U.S. later this year as a stand-alone treatment, in combination with Merck’s Januvia, and in combination with metformin.

Ertugliflozin belongs to a class of medicines known as SGLT2 inhibitors. These drugs lower blood sugar by causing the kidneys to remove sugar from the body through the urine. Several SGLT2 inhibitors are already available, including Farxiga, Invokana, and Jardiance. 

Results from late-stage clinical studies conducted by Merck and Pfizer were very encouraging. Not only did ertugliflozin help lower blood sugar levels, but patients taking the experimental drug also experienced weight reduction and lower blood pressure levels. 

2. Sotagliflozin

Another promising SGLT inhibitor might not be too far behind ertugliflozin. Lexicon and Sanofi are evaluating sotagliflozin in late-stage studies. The drug could potentially reach the market within the next couple of years if all goes well.

Sotagliflozin inhibits SGLT1 and SGLT2 proteins. SGLT1 is responsible for glucose absorption in the gastrointestinal tract, while SGLT2 is responsible for glucose…

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