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NicOx to develop enhanced statin product

Published on 06/09/06 at 03:44pm

NicOx is to develop a new statin treatment using its special in-house technology which, according to the company, could make the product the most effective in its class.

Not only does the new technology appear to improve the drug's cholesterol-lowering effects, it could also boost the ability of the statin to stop the furring up of arteries, cutting the risk of blood clots and inflammation associated with heart disease.

The small French pharma company specialises in applying its nitric oxide donating technology to existing drugs, which it says can transform them into far superior and more effective medicines. Its new drug NCX 6560 is a nitric oxide-donating derivative of a commonly used statin, the identity of which the company has not disclosed, although simvastatin is the most likely candidate, being the most widely used drug in the class and now off-patent.

Nitric oxide plays a crucial role in many processes in the body, acting as a messenger molecule and conveying biochemical signals in a range of tissues, from the cardiovascular system, to the central nervous and immune systems.

There is significant evidence that certain diseases are related to a deficiency in the production of nitric oxide, and NicOx's technology provides a sustained, controlled release of the molecules. In existing drugs, nitric oxide can be released rapidly, causing tolerance problems in patients such as headaches.

The company has decided to take NCX 6560 into development after promising results in pre-clinical studies.

Ennio Ongini, Vice President of Research at NicOx said: "Restoring deficient nitric oxide signaling is known to reduce endothelial dysfunction, atherosclerosis and thrombosis, which represent the key processes underlying the most common cardiovascular diseases.

"We have demonstrated that nitric oxide donation can boost the non-lipid activities of statins in pre-clinical studies, suggesting that NCX 6560 could represent a new statin with broadened and increased efficacy, suitable for the preventive treatment of high-risk cardiovascular patients."

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