Roche targets 'good cholesterol' drug win where rivals failed

The pressure is on. With its good-cholesterol raising drug, Roche has a shot to advance a whole new class of blockbuster heart pills--or become another firm to crash and burn in the high-risk field.

Roche plans to reveal important data from two studies of dalcetrapid at a conference in Paris this month, Bloomberg reports. These data will be key indicators of whether the Swiss drugmaker has a winner on its hands. And industry is watching closely, as Pfizer ($PFE) and Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) have suffered blows in their own attempts to develop drugs that are intended to raise HDL cholesterol and fight heart disease.

Analysts are projecting Roche's heart drug to become a mega-blockbuster. Also in the running, Merck ($MRK) and Eli Lilly ($LLY) have high hopes for their own experimental drugs that boost good cholesterol. If the drugs can pass trials, there's potential for there to be multiple blockbusters in the drug class, UBS analyst Gbola Amusa told Bloomberg.

Roche, which is the world's biggest cancer drug provider, could break new ground, as others have yet to succeed with HDL-raising heart drugs. That means many eyes will be on the company's data from the two trials. If the data look good, they'll likely drive further interest in the company's larger trial involving the drug. The company is slated to report data from that study late next year.

- check out the Bloomberg report