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New Agreement to Commercialize Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes

Merck, a leading science and technology company, signed a collaboration agreement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals NV (“Janssen”), one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, to commercialize INVOKANA® (canagliflozin), an innovative drug for adults with type 2 diabetes in six growth markets.

According to the Asian Diabetes Prevention Initiative, 60 percent of diabetics in the world live in Asia, and Russia is ranked fifth in the top 10 countries in the world with the largest population living with diabetes. The secondary complications of diabetes can be life threatening, with 2019 diabetes deaths reaching 4.2 million. Complications can include neuropathy (damage to nerve fibres) of the peripheral and autonomic nervous system, resulting in limb amputation, as well as being a leading cause of blindness, cardiovascular disease and kidney failure.

Through this agreement, Merck will hold the exclusive rights for the promotion of INVOKANA® (canagliflozin) in the additional six countries. The two companies will work closely together on the distribution, promotion, access, marketing and sales of INVOKANA®.

INVOKANA® (canagliflozin) is approved for treatment of type 2 diabetes in combination with metformin or with metformin plus sulfonylurea in adults who have not achieved adequate glycaemic control on these oral therapies.

“The addition of INVOKANA® to our ASEAN and Russian Diabetes portfolio strengthens the Merck Franchise by ensuring innovative treatments are available to patients who aren’t able to retain sufficient control over blood glucose levels with Glucophage® (metformin) alone. We are pleased to offer such a high-quality treatment option to millions of diabetic patients and their physicians to continue helping them to control their disease, emphasizing our longstanding commitment in the type 2 diabetes area and to being united As One For Patients, to help create, improve and prolong lives, said Andre Musto, Senior Vice President, Head of Global Cardiovascular Metabolism and Endocrinology Franchise, Merck Healthcare.

He further added, “These agreements reinforce our standing as one of the leading companies and partner of choice in the cardiovascular, metabolic and endocrine space in Emerging Growth Markets. New treatments for diabetes are of particularly importance in ASEAN countries, where type 2 diabetes cases are on the rise.”.

INVOKANA® (canagliflozin) is a member of a novel class of drugs known as sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT-2) inhibitor. With a mechanism of action independent of insulin secretion and sensitivity, INVOKANA® (canagliflozin) helps reduce the reabsorption of filtered glucose in the kidneys, lowers the renal threshold for glucose (RTG) and thereby increases urinary glucose excretion through inhibition of highly selective SGLT-2. Besides its pronounced anti-hyperglycemic effects, INVOKANA® (canagliflozin) can also bring additional benefits to patients such as reductions in body weight, slowing the progression in albuminuria and lowering of blood pressure1.

“In 2018, Merck entered into an agreement with Janssen for the launch and exclusive promotion of INVOKANA in China, where the rate of diabetes has been described as “explosive” by the WHO, affecting 110 million people. Now, with agreements in our five ASEAN markets, we continue to make this innovative treatment available to even more patients in APAC. This is an important building block in our efforts to expand our CM&E portfolio but more importantly, in our contribution to improving the quality of life of patients and caregivers in the region”, said Liz Henderson, Regional Vice President, Merck Healthcare, APAC. [APBN]