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Cholesterol Playing Field Expands To Early Atherosclerosis, HDL, Novel Drugs

Executive Summary

Pfizer is hoping to use the results of its failed torcetrapib trials as additional evidence of Lipitor's efficacy in halting progression of atherosclerosis, while competitor AstraZeneca offers new data to expand Crestor's use into early atherosclerosis

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Crestor wins atherosclerosis indication

FDA approval of AstraZeneca's Crestor (rosuvastatin) to slow the progression of atherosclerosis in patients with elevated cholesterol will give the statin a point of differentiation over competitors like Pfizer's Lipitor (atorvastatin), Merck/Schering-Plough's Vytorin (ezetimibe/simvastatin) and generic simvastatin (Zocor), Commercial Brand Leader Lisa Nanfra says in an interview with "The Pink Sheet." FDA approved Crestor "as adjunctive therapy to diet to slow the progression of atherosclerosis in adult patients as part of a treatment strategy to lower Total-C and LDL-C to target levels," AstraZeneca announces Nov. 9. The approval was based on data from AstraZeneca's METEOR study, which measured the effects of Crestor on plaque buildup in the arteries using carotid intima-media thickness; the data was released earlier in the year (1"The Pink Sheet" April 9, 2007, p. 13)...

Crestor wins atherosclerosis indication

FDA approval of AstraZeneca's Crestor (rosuvastatin) to slow the progression of atherosclerosis in patients with elevated cholesterol will give the statin a point of differentiation over competitors like Pfizer's Lipitor (atorvastatin), Merck/Schering-Plough's Vytorin (ezetimibe/simvastatin) and generic simvastatin (Zocor), Commercial Brand Leader Lisa Nanfra says in an interview with "The Pink Sheet." FDA approved Crestor "as adjunctive therapy to diet to slow the progression of atherosclerosis in adult patients as part of a treatment strategy to lower Total-C and LDL-C to target levels," AstraZeneca announces Nov. 9. The approval was based on data from AstraZeneca's METEOR study, which measured the effects of Crestor on plaque buildup in the arteries using carotid intima-media thickness; the data was released earlier in the year (1"The Pink Sheet" April 9, 2007, p. 13)...

Other CETP Inhibitors Could Escape Torcetrapib Trap, ACC Studies Suggest

The failure of Pfizer's torcetrapib need not be the death knell of the cholesteryl ester transfer protein inhibitor class, according to analysis of imaging studies presented at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions, because there are several plausible reasons that the lack of efficacy could be due to molecule-specific problems

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