AstraZeneca and Ionis claim a PCSK9 win, but will it matter in a crowded market?
The first generation of PCSK9 blockers was, roughly speaking, a commercial disaster for their developers, Sanofi and Amgen.
Although they successfully lowered bad cholesterol and prevented heart attacks and strokes by a new mechanism, insurers were unwilling to pay the high cost of the medications and patients seemed less than enthusiastic about taking injections every two weeks.
The result has been a frenzied, multi-billion-dollar search for drugs that can block the protein, a central node in the production of LDL cholesterol, with more convenient dosing. On Monday, AstraZeneca claimed it had cleared a major hurdle, releasing data on an experimental drug that’s dosed only once per month.
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