For the first time in ten years, a pharmaceutical company has made a significant breakthrough in heart-failure treatment. Novartis, a Switzerland based company which ranks among the top 5 in annual revenues, has a new, yet to be named drug which has shown it can reduce the number of people who die from heart failure. Their new combination drug, LCZ696, had recently undergone a Paradigm-HF clinical testing, and was compared to ACE-inhibitor enalapril. The results were surprising, as the initial data indicates that LCZ696 can cut the risk of death from cardiovascular causes by 20%, and all causes by 16%. The data also suggests that the pill can reduce risk of being hospitalized from heart-failure by 21%.
The head of Novartis Pharmaceuticals unit, David Epstein has stated, “By demonstrating a very significant reduction in cardiovascular deaths while improving quality of life, Novartis’ new heart-failure medicine, LCZ696, represents one of the most important cardiology advances of the last decade.” He has also being quoted with saying, “This result is better than we ever could have anticipated.”
For those who suffer from heart-failure, this discovery could potentially save their life. The drug essentially acts to reduce strain on the failing heart, promoting the ability for the muscle to recover. With 6 million Americans suffering, and an estimated 24 million people worldwide, the demand and need for this pill is there. Speculation would dictate that research would continue forward and the results could possibly become greater in time, and with sufficient competition.
Major side effects of the new LCZ696 have been said to include hypotension and non-serious angioedema. These side effects have been reported as manageable in the analysis of the Paradigm-HF Clinical trial, so Novartis has indicated it plans to approach the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to file for authorization to market in the United States as early as this year. The company also plans to market it in the European Union at some point in 2015.
Analysts forecast that this twice-a-day pill would reach $1.9 billion in sales by 2019; a mere 4 years after the anticipated launch. Deutsche Bank analysts believe that under the right conditions, sales could reach $10 billion a year. Market analysts expect the cost of each pill to be around $3.50 to $4.
With a reported 600,000 deaths due to heart disease in the United States and some 5.1 million people suffering from the disease, this breakthrough in heart-failure is warmly welcomed and greatly needed. You can learn more about heart failure at the Centers for Disease Control and prevention.
(Photo courtesy of Charlotte Astrid)