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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Amgen Cholesterol Drug Repatha Prevents Heart Attacks, Stroke

The trial tested an Amgen drug called Repatha against a placebo in a 27,500-patient (there's one of our numbers) multi-nation, Phase 3, randomized, double-blind trial to see how effective it was in reducing the risk of nasty cardiovascular events. And the results were impressive. Repatha, a monoclonal antibody that substantially lowers LDL cholesterol in the blood, was shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks in patients (who already had evidence of atherosclerosis) by 27%. (There's number No. 2.) The drug reduced the risk of "hard major adverse cardiovascular events" by 20%—but didn't appear to affect overall mortality from cardiovascular disease (which wasn't expected anyway.)

Repatha, which has to be injected, is also priced at $14,000 a year. (Number No. 3.)

So what happened? Naturally, Amgen stock tanked in early morning trading (My colleague Sy Mukherjee has a write-up in today's Fortune Brainstorm Health Daily newsletter). Why, you ask? Because many were expecting even more dramatic results—especially for a medicine with a $14,000-a-year price tag.


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