Monday 13 January 2020 9:33 am

Astrazeneca takes $100m hit on failed heart disease drug tests

Astrazeneca is in line for a $100m hit after a heart disease drug was shown to be ineffective in treating certain heart conditions in tests.

After the disappointing results, the drug manufacturer said it would stop running trials on the drug, known as Epanova.

Read more: Astrazeneca beats estimates in strong third quarter

It also said that it would review its $533m value on the company’s balance sheet.

Epanova is used in the United States to treat hypertriglyceridamia – a condition which involves high levels of certain fats, known as triglycerides, in the bloodstream.

The condition is often a forerunner of heart disease.

Astrazeneca had hoped the drug would also prove effective in treating mixed dyslipidemia – another condition which increases the risk of heart disease.

“It was important to assess the potential benefit of Epanova in mixed dyslipidemia,” said Mene Pangalos, executive vice-president of biopharmaceuticals research and development at Astrazeneca.

“We are disappointed by these results, but we remain committed to addressing the needs of patients in the cardiovascular space where we have an extensive pipeline.”

Astrazenca bought Epanova through its 2013 purchase of Omthera Pharmaceuticals. 

Then, it said there was a “clear need” for alternative treatments for people with high levels of triglyceride in the bloodstream, as obesity and diabetes continued to become more frequent in the US.

Read more: Astrazeneca buys drug fast-track voucher for $95m

The firm said the trial results would have no bearing on the drug’s use in treating severe hypertriglyceridaemia.

However, the loss appears not to have affected Astrazeneca’s shares, which were 0.1 per cent up this morning, valued at 7,652p this morning.