ZURICH, March 31 Swiss drugmaker Novartis
is set to end a late-stage clinical trial of a chronic
heart failure drug early, following strong interim results.
The Basel-based firm said on Monday an independent committee
had unanimously recommended it close its PARADIGM-HF study ahead
of time after results showed patients receiving its LCZ696 drug
lived longer without being hospitalised for heart failure than
those who were given the standard care.
The study was evaluating LCZ696 in patients with so-called
reduced ejection fraction chronic heart failure.
Heart failure is a condition where the heart struggles to
pump blood around the body. Unlike a heart attack, in which a
heart artery becomes blocked, it develops progressively.
Novartis said it would start talks with global health
regulators about filing for drug for approval.
The Swiss firm, long a major player in cardiovascular
medicine, is looking to LCZ696 as one of two new treatments for
heart failure that could revive its fortunes at a time when
top-selling blood pressure pill Diovan is facing generic
Its other acute heart failure drug Serelaxin received a
setback last week when a panel of advisers to the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration recommended the drug not be approved because
of insufficient evidence it improves symptoms.
The panel's recommendation echoed that of European
regulators which also ruled against the drug.
(Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Mark Potter)