Developers spotlight huge potential of new class of cholesterol drugs

Previewing the upcoming meeting of the American College of Cardiology meeting in Chicago, Reuters goes in-depth on a new class of potential blockbusters that will muscle its way into the R&D spotlight. The drugs inhibit the PCSK9 protein, offering a fresh approach to dramatically reducing levels of "bad" cholesterol.

At the top of the list of contenders is Regeneron Pharmaceuticals' ($REGN) REGN 727, which reduced LDL up to 65% in clinical trials. On Sunday, Amgen ($AMGN) will produce early-stage data on its anti-PCSK9 program, called AMG 145. And Reuters adds that Merck ($MRK) and others will muscle rivals in the field for attention as well.

Mani Mohindru, an analyst with Think Equity, tells Reuters that she "can't believe the cardiologists won't be in awe of the LDL reductions."

The developers certainly seem to be in awe of the potential of a new class of drugs that could be offered to millions of patients. "PCSK9 is one of the most exciting targets in cardiovascular drug development today," said Michael Severino, Amgen's chief medical officer.

- here's the story from Reuters