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AZ "disappointment" at heart drug failure

Published on 05/10/16 at 10:21am

AstraZeneca has expressed its disappointment that its heart drug Brilinta (ticagrelor) failed to meet its primary endpoint in a recent trial.

In the 13,885 patient EUCLID trial – the largest cardiovascular trial to date - Brilinta did not show any benefit over older blood thinner clopidogrel in treating peripheral artery disease (PAD), a serious circulatory issue in the legs. The trial examined the efficacy of 90mg Brilinta tablets twice-daily versus 75mg of clopidogrel once-daily for the prevention of atherothrombotic events (a composite of cardiovascular death, heart attack or ischaemic stroke), measuring the time until first occurrence of such an event.

The news has caused the company to scrap its original projection of $3.5 billion a year in sales by 2023:

"We don't believe the goal of $3.5 billion is attainable. I think it would be unrealistic to believe that," remarked Ludovic Helfgott, head of AstraZeneca's Brilinta business.

Sean Bohen, executive VP, Global Medicines Development and CMO at AstraZeneca, commented: “The proven benefits of Brilinta in acute coronary syndrome and post-myocardial infarction patients are established and remain unchanged. We are disappointed that the EUCLID trial results showed Brilinta did not demonstrate a benefit over clopidogrel in this specific symptomatic PAD population.” 

The drug is forecast by analysts to achieve $2.1 billion in sales by 2021; sales hit $619 million last year.

Matt Fellows

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