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Novartis has gained the exclusive worldwide rights to elinogrel, a promising anti-clotting agent in phase II clinical trials that has shown potential to offer clinical improvements over current anti-clotting medications in helping patients avoid heart attacks and strokes.
As part of the agreement with the US biotechnology company Portola Pharmaceuticals Inc, Novartis will have responsibility for the phase III development, manufacturing and commercialisation of elinogrel.
Elinogrel belongs to a class of cardiovascular medicines that seek to prevent blood platelets circulating in the arterial system from sticking together and forming potentially dangerous clots. These clots can limit or stop the flow of blood to the heart or brain, leading to heart attacks or strokes.
“More than 13 million people die every year from complications related to blood clots, which underscores the ongoing and significant unmet need,” said Trevor Mundel, global head of development at Novartis Pharma AG.
“Elinogrel is a novel compound with attributes that have the potential to offer clinical benefits over currently approved antiplatelet therapies. Elinogrel will further diversify our cardiovascular pipeline and we hope it will prove to be a strong addition to our portfolio.”
Elinogrel is being developed as oral and intravenous formulations. It has an instant onset of action that could quickly provide protection from clotting. Elinogrel’s effect is also reversible, which may offer physicians a way to rapidly reverse its anti-clotting actions when necessary.
Data from Portola’s phase I and phase IIa trials showed elinogrel was well tolerated and had predictable, dose-dependent platelet inhibition.
Innovate-PCI, an 800-patient phase IIb clinical trial, was initiated in December 2008 involving the intravenous and oral forms of elinogrel to explore the compound’s clinical efficacy, biological activity, tolerability and safety.
This trial includes a broad group of patients undergoing non-urgent surgery to repair a damaged blood vessel or to unblock a coronary artery (percutaneous coronary intervention). The trial involves a head-to-head assessment of elinogrel’s intravenous and oral formulations against clopidogrel (Plavix), considered the leading antiplatelet agent.
Clinical trials are planned for elinogrel in patients with acute coronary syndromes and more broadly in patients with a prior heart attack or stroke, and those with peripheral vascular disease.
Novartis is focused on improving the lives of the hundreds of millions of people with cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. As a global leader in cardiovascular and metabolic health for nearly 50 years, Novartis provides innovative therapies and support programs to treat high blood pressure and diabetes – both major public health issues.
The portfolio includes the world’s most-prescribed angiotensin receptor blocker, the first and only approved direct renin inhibitor, a single pill combining two leading high blood pressure medicines, and a novel DPP-4 inhibitor.
Novartis is dedicated to helping physicians and patients through effective medicines, programs and an ongoing commitment to research.