Daiichi Sankyo has presented new data showing that Benicar  is superior to Merck & Co's now off-patent Cozaar in reducing blood pressure.

The study compared Benicar (olmesartan) 40 mg once-daily with Cozaar (losartan) 100 mg once-daily at week 8, and the data was presented at the International Society of Hypertension meeting in Vancouver, Canada. The results revealed that patients on Cozaar experienced a smaller mean blood pressure reduction of 9.7/7.1 mm Hg from a baseline of 158.3/101.3 mm Hg, compared to patients who received Benicar.

At week 8, a significantly greater proportion of patients treated with Benicar achieved a blood pressure goal of less than 140/90 mm Hg than patients treated with Cozaar (31.6% versus 19.5%, respectively). Daiichi Sankyo quoted Henry Punzi of the Trinity Hypertension and Metabolic Research Institute in Carrollton, Texas, as saying that "achieving blood pressure control is difficult for many patients so being able to identify which angiotensin II receptor blocker provides superior blood pressure reduction can be very important for physicians".

He added that many patients come close to achieving that goal, "but are unable to cross the threshold of controlled blood pressure" and a reduction of two or three points in their blood pressure is the difference between being able to achieve control or remaining uncontrolled".

The data may help boost sales of Benicar even though a number of generics of Cozaar, from the likes of Teva, Lupin, Zydus and Actavis, are available in the USA.

Kinaxo cancer deal

Meantime, Daiichi Sankyo has entered into a "long-time partnership" with Germany's Kinaxo Biotechnologies to develop cancer drugs.

Under the terms of the agreement, Daiichi Sankyo will employ Kinaxo’s technology platform to support the development of the Japanese drugmaker's targeted cancer drugs. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Finally, the Tokyo-headquartered firm has announced that a generics subsidiary, Daiichi Sankyo Espha Co, has started operations in Japan. The unit has been created to take advantage of the opening-up of the non-branded market in Japan and the company said it will "accommodate demand for generic drugs and supply long-listed Daiichi Sankyo pharmaceuticals with established reputations for efficacy and safety whose patents have expired as of April 1, 2010".