Amgen drug shows it can 'improve heart function' in Ph2

There's some new evidence that Amgen ($AMGN) and Cytokinetics' ($CYTK) experimental drug has a shot a providing a whole new way of treating certain cases of heart failure.

The drug--a small-molecule activator of a motor protein called cardiac myosin that causes contraction--was tested in a placebo-controlled Phase II study involving 45 heart failure patients with impaired function of the left ventricle. John Cleland, a lead investigator of the study from the University of Hull, said that the trial "proves that the drug can be given safely to patients suffering from heart failure and shows that, at the correct doses and blood plasma concentrations, it can improve heart function and make the heart contract more effectively."

Larger trials of the drug, called omecamtiv mecarbil or CK-1827452, are already under way. "We need to see whether the improvements in cardiac function translate into real benefits for patients, in terms of their symptoms and quality of life, and whether it can impact on mortality and morbidity," said Cleland.

Amgen shelled out $50 million to Cytokinetics in 2009 to exercise its option to license exclusive rights to the drug. Cleland told PharmaTimes that an IV version of the drug, which was used in the recent Phase II trial, could hit the market in the next three to four years with an oral formulation in the works at Cytokinetics to follow.

- here's the release
- see the coverage in PharmaTimes