Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals have been working on a new experimental drug that aims to lower cholesterol. Early tests have shown that the drug cuts down risks of heart attacks and strokes in clinical trials by half.
The test report says that the results are not conclusive as the analysis was performed retrospectively. The study does provide the positive result that specifically targeting PCSK9, a protein linked to cholesterol, could successfully lower chances of cardiovascular disease in patients.
Alirocumab, the drug, comes from a new category of medicines, which are currently under development by Pfizer and Amgen. LDL, the reportedly unhealthy type of cholesterol, is successfully reduced by alirocumab. The new method is projected to create multi-billion dollar sales for the companies involved.
Alirocumab is injectable, said representatives of Sanofi and Regeneron, and has proved to be instrumental in lowering LDL levels in nine studies in July. Four of those trials have been reported in detail at the recent annual meeting of the ESC.
Experts have yet to conclude over the benefits of the drug on a larger scale, but its makers remain optimistic about its success. They speculate that the drug should be out in the markets by next year.
A safety analysis in one of the studies showed that patients on alirocumab were less prone to moderate to severe cardiovascular events such as heart attacks, strokes, and cardiac death.
Two groups of patients were given the conventional statin pills, along with either alirocumab or a placebo. The group with alirocumab showed half the number of major cardiovascular events than those in the placebo group.