Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical says it has moved its blood pressure-lowering drug TAK-491 into Phase 3 trials in the USA and Europe, the last stage of development before seeking regulatory approval.

TAK-491 is an angiotensin receptor blocker that the firm anticipates will exhibit superior antihypertensive activity compared to currently available drugs in the same class, as well as improving insulin resistance and reducing the potential for proteinuria – the presence of excess serum protein in the urine.

"This compound is expected to succeed our current mainstay product, candesartan [Blopress/Amias]," said Masaomi Miyamoto, General Manager of the Pharmaceutical Development Division of Takeda. Blopress pulled in 206.2 billion yen ($1.7 billion) in sales last year.

Building solid portfolio in metabolic disease

Takeda is building a solid portfolio in the area of metabolic disease, with investigational compounds such as the DPP-4 inhibitor diabetes therapy SYR-322 - which it expects to file in the middle of next year - and the squalene synthase inhibitor TAK-475 for lipid-lowering also in Phase III development.

If they reach the market, they will join Takeda's diabetes offering Actos (pioglitazone HCl), which reeled in 2006 sales of 336.3 billion yen, a rise of 37.9%, and US revenues of $2.37 billion, but is facing stiff competition in the shape of newer compounds on the market such as Merck & Co's Januvia (sitagliptin), a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor that enhances the body's own ability to reduce high blood sugar levels without the weight gain seen with some other drugs.