LOS ANGELES Nov 6 An experimental Novartis AG
drug to treat hospitalized acute heart failure
patients reduced deaths by 37 percent compared with a placebo
and appeared to be safe, according to data from a pivotal trial
presented on Tuesday.
The drug, Serelaxin, which is a form of a human hormone that
relaxes blood vessels and eases stress on the heart and other
organs, is considered one of the most important medicine's in
the Swiss drugmaker's developmental pipeline.
"With a meaningful mortality benefit, we believe Serelaxin
could represent a $2.5 billion (annual) sales opportunity,"
Deutsche Bank analysts said in a research note prior to release
of the final data at the American Heart Association scientific
meeting in Los Angeles.
In the study of 1,161 patients, the drug cut deaths from any
cause at six months by 37 percent and led to marked reduction
in worsening of heart failure during hospitalization,
Patients who received 48 hours of continuously infused
serelaxin experienced more than 45 percent fewer episodes of
worsening heart failure symptoms than those who got a placebo.