Approximately 18,000 global health professionals specializing in cardiovascular medicine and research converged on Los Angeles this past week for the annual American Heart Association Scientific Sessions.
Perhaps the biggest news from the Sessions was the presentation of data for a new class of cholesterol-lowering agents called PCSK9 protein blockers. Several of the world’s foremost Biopharma companies such as Amgen, Pfizer, Sanofi and its partner, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, each have their own PCSK9 product under development. These extremely potent products lower LDL (the bad cholesterol) by 50% or more and will need to be administered via injection. The science behind the new products is that they block the PCSK9 protein, which interferes with the liver’s ability to clear LDL cholesterol from the blood.
There is a huge potential market for this new class of drugs, factoring the 71 million Americans who have high LDL cholesterol and only about 1/3 of them are adequately controlled, typically managed with statin therapy. This leaves nearly 48 million Americans who need better LDL cholesterol management; and may need this type of therapy if statins do not work well enough.
Sanofi/Regeneron has begun enrolling patients in Phase III Clinical Trials, while Amgen and Pfizer are likely to initiate similar trials in the near future. The theory behind any drug that lowers LDL cholesterol (or an agent that raises HDL cholesterol) is that they will lower the person’s heart attack risk. To learn YOUR heart attack risk, and see how modifying cholesterol levels impact your 10-year risk, click here.