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New data boosts AstraZeneca's Atacand

Published on 28/10/03 at 03:38pm

New trial data on AstraZeneca's blood pressure treatment Atacand could give the drug a lead over rivals in the same class and a significant boost to its sales.

Results presented at the European Society of Cardiology annual meeting showed Atacand to cut deaths and the need for hospitalisation in heart-failure patients, when given with standard treatments.

Atacand is the first and only Angiotensin Receptor Blocker (ARB) proven to show a reduction in cardiovascular death rates, whether or not it was taken with an ACE inhibitor.

AstraZeneca plan to use the data to support US and EU licences to treat heart-failure.

Head of Cardiovascular Medicine Gunnar Olsson told Reuters:  "I'm very optimistic that this will get an expedited review, for example from the FDA. I think we will see a major increase in the use of Atacand."

Patients taking Atacand (candestartan) with the standard treatment for chronic heart failure of beta-blockers and ACE-inhibitors showed an additional reduction in the risk of death or hospitalisation from their illness of 15%, compared with those only taking the standard treatments.

Professor John McMurray of Glasgow University and Western Infirmary, Scotland, and one of the trial's principal investigators, said: "That candesartan improved outcome, even when added to full conventional therapy, is a very important treatment advance for these very sick patients."

Novartis currently leads the ARB market with its treatment Diovan. That drug maintained its blockbuster status last year with sales of $1.8 billion, with Atacand's sales of $569 million one of several ARBs following behind.

Diovan won a limited FDA licence for heart failure last August for use in patients intolerant to ACE inhibitors.

Candesartan was discovered by Takeda who market the drug under their own brand name of Amias.

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