Amgen’s high cholesterol drug at centre of patent court case yields positive clinical trial results
Amgen has announced positive results from the Phase III GAUSS-3 clinical trial evaluating Repatha (evolucumab) in patients with high cholesterol who cannot tolerate statins.
The clinical trial showed that the use of Repatha in patients with reproducible statin intolerance due to muscle-related side effects resulted in a significantly greater reduction in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) after 24 weeks, compared to ezetimibe.
The data shows that there was a 52.8% reduction in LDL-C for Repatha, compared to 16.7% for ezetimibe. Also, patients treated with ezetimibe, active study drug was stopped for muscle symptoms in 6.8% of patents, compared to 0.7% of patients treated with Repatha.
The results of this study build on the GAUSS-1 and GAUSS-2 trials, which used patient-reported incidence of statin-related side effects. GAUSS-3 employed a rigorous active statin rechallenge in patients with a history of intolerance to two or more statins to determine a patient population that experience MRSE on statin therapy but not on placebo.
Sean E. Harper, executive vice president of research and development at Amgen, comments: “Statin-associated muscle symptoms represent a major unresolved challenged in the care of patients with cardiovascular disease. These findings are promising, demonstrating safety and efficacy results consistent with other GAUSS studies.”
Co-lead author of the study, Erik S.G. Stroes, adds: “By employing a unique crossover design, these study results provide insights into our understanding of statin intolerance, which can be difficult to define from patient-reported symptoms alone. This rigorously-designed trial clearly shows that in carefully selected patients, statin intolerance withstands the placebo-controlled test. These often high-risk patients truly experience muscle-related side effects while on statin therapy and may therefore benefit from an alternative treatment like evolocumab to lower their LDL cholesterol.”
The drug itself was the centre of a recent court case, which ruled in favour of Amgen over Sanofi/Regeneron concerning drug patents relating to their respective high cholesterol drugs. The stakes were high in this case as Repatha, and Sanofi’s Praluent, are expected to post significant revenues in the coming years. At the time, chairman and chief executive at Amgen, Robert Bradway, commented: “We are thankful that the jury weighed the evidence carefully and recognised the validity of Amgen’s patents on Repatha, our innovative biologic molecule that reduces LDL cholesterol.”
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