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MSD scores trial success in reducing cardiovascular risk

Published on 29/08/17 at 10:18am

New data on MSD’s anacetrapib has revealed that the drug was able to reduce risk of the risk of major coronary events by 9% compared to placebo in a study of 30,449 patients suffering atherosclerotic vascular disease and receiving LDL-C lowering treatment with atorvastatin.

Anacetrapib, an Investigational cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) inhibitor, showed the ability to reduce the risk of events such as coronary death, myocardial infarction and coronary revascularisation by 9% compared to placebo, while its safety profile remained consistent with the findings of earlier trials. However, a sub-study revealed that prolonged dosing of the drug causes it to collect and accumulate in adipose tissue.

Additionally, the drug failed to reach a statistically significant reduction in atherosclerotic events, showing no observed benefit in treating ischemic stroke. Likewise, the drug had no worthwhile effect on cause-specific mortality, cancer or other adverse events.  

The US pharmaceutical firm partnered with researchers in the Cllinical Trial Service Unit at the University of Oxford, who designed and independently conducted the four-year study, alongside the Brigham-based TIMI Study Group and Women's Hospital in Boston.

"Despite treatment advances in recent years, patients with cardiovascular disease remain at risk for cardiovascular events. We are pleased that adding anacetrapib to statin therapy resulted in a further reduction of major coronary events in REVEAL," explained Dr Roy Baynes, Senior Vice President, Head of Clinical Development, and Chief Medical Officer at Merck Research Laboratories. "This trial helps to advance our understanding of the effects of anacetrapib on cardiovascular risk, and we are grateful to the study leaders at Oxford, TIMI, the many investigators, and the thousands of patients who participated in this study for their efforts."

MSD is currently reviewing the results of the trial alongside external experts to come to a decision on whether it will use this data to file new drug applications with worldwide regulatory bodies, in particular the FDA.

Matt Fellows

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