Takeda and Eli Lilly’s diabetes drug, Actos (pioglitazone), could see an upturn in its fortunes after data from the landmark PROactive trial unveiled at the American Heart Association meeting this week showed it significantly cut the rate of second heart attacks in high-risk patients with type 2 diabetes.

The results will have put a rosy glow on Takeda and Lilly, which reported in September that Actos reduced a broad spectrum of cardiac events - including death, stroke and heart attack - by a significant 16%, although the study did not reach significance in the primary measure of seven different macrovascular events. In these people, the study showed that Actos could prevent 21 deaths, strokes or heart attacks per 1,000 patients over a three-year period.

Now these latest data, from a secondary analysis, has found that repeat heart attacks – both fatal and non-fatal - were cut 28%. This is believed to be the first glucose-lowering drug shown to prevent additional heart attacks, and the results also showed a 19% risk reduction in the combined measure of non-fatal heart attacks, acute coronary syndrome, coronary revascularisation and cardiac death.

Unsurprisingly, the news helped Takeda witness a stunning first half performance from Actos, with sales jumping nearly 20% to 18.5 billion yen.