November 18, 2009 / 7:26 AM / in 10 years

Roche announces late-stage trial for heart drug

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG said on Wednesday it would conduct a new late-stage trial to evaluate the effect of one of its drug candidates in combating a thickening of the arteries in patients.

The Phase III trial is designed to further evaluate the effect of dalcetrapib on the progression of atherosclerosis in over 900 cardiovascular patients, the company said.

Dalcetrapib is in the same class as Pfizer Inc’s torcetrapib, which Pfizer scrapped after it was linked to deaths in a study, and which the company had previously hoped would become a $10 billion (5.9 billion pounds) a year drug.

Roche previously said it hoped dalcetrapib would raise “good” HDL-cholesterol and aimed to launch the medicine by 2013 or 2014, assuming large late-stage studies show it reduces the risk of heart attack and death.

The study will be conducted in collaboration with the Canadian Atherosclerosis Imaging Network and Montreal Heart Institute, Roche said.

Roche also said a separate study of 15,600 patients to evaluate dalcetrapib’s effect in the reduction of cardiovascular events beyond and above the best standard of care, is on track.

Reporting by Martin de Sa'Pinto; editing by Simon Jessop

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