ESC spotlight: Daiichi trumpets edoxaban PhIII; Isis drug shines; Novartis upbeat on serelaxin

The European Society of Cardiology meeting in Amsterdam produced some notable data for a slate of closely watched heart drugs over the long weekend. In addition to the Cytokinetics ($CYTK)/Amgen ($AMGN) results for omecamtiv, we found these highlights:

  • Daiichi Sankyo is staking out its bid to make edoxaban a first-in-class therapy in the crowd of new factor Xa inhibitors used to reduce the risk of blood clots. In a Phase III trial, the drug proved as effective as warfarin and was also significantly safer. Slated to compete with Eliquis and Xarelto, the drug data indicated that it was more effective among the sickest patients and also triggered fewer cases of bleeding. Patrick O'Gara, director of clinical cardiology at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, told The Wall Street Journal that there needs to be head-to-head studies to compare the new anticoagulants. So far, that's been missing. Story
  • Another piece of the PhII puzzle has fallen into place for Isis' ($ISIS) experimental blood fat drug ISIS-APOCIIIRx. The would-be blockbuster for Isis slashed the amount of triglycerides, a dangerous blood fat, by up to 75% as a single agent after 13 weeks of therapy. It also cut apolipoprotein C-III, which hampers triglyceride-clearing, by 79%. And there was a mean increase of good cholesterol (HDL) of 57%. There was an 89% mean reduction in apoC-III-associated very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) particles. Release
  • Following up on its successful Phase III trial for the heart drug serelaxin (RLX030)--picked by the FDA for its first group of "breakthrough" therapies--Novartis ($NVS) reported that the drug improved breathing and reduced the risk of death in all patient groups. The elderly, patients suffering from atrial fibrillation and those with impaired kidneys all benefited from the therapy. Reuters notes that Jefferies has pegged this drug as likely to earn about $1.5 billion a year in peak sales. Story