Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)’s Dynamic Duo

Johnson and Johnson (NYSE:JNJ)‘s Invokana belongs to a rising new class of diabetes drugs called SGLT-2. Invokana proved more effective than Januvia  in early trials and would become the first-in-class. SGLT-2 drugs provide an advantage because they’re insulin-independent, allowing the drugs to pair with insulin easier than other classes. This allows for treatment customization — a huge issue in the diabetes market.

Invokana’s has blockbuster earnings potential — if it can make it to market. An FDA panel recommended approval, but a similar drug from Bristol-Myers was sent back to trials because of potential cancer risks.

Foolish final thoughts
Merck has a number of strong selling products left in the pharmaceutical portfolio. Normally, no one drug has a tremendous impact on the company’s overall health. But Singulair’s expiration has drawn attention to this segment and whether the strong sellers can help keep up revenues until some pipeline projects pay off.

Diabetes patients often have to adjust medications to find the best drug or combination. Januvia’s sales prove it’s working for many people. But the SGLT-2 class could become the new treatment standard in the future.

The article Merck’s Dynamic Duo originally appeared on and is written by Brandy Betz.

Fool contributor Brandy Betz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool owns shares of Johnson & Johnson.

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