Regeneron and Sanofi cholesterol drug meets goals

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Associated Press

Posted on October 16, 2013 at 10:02 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 16 at 10:02 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — Drugmakers Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Sanofi said Wednesday that their cholesterol drug alirocumab met its main goal in its first late-stage clinical trial.

Shares of Regeneron gained $10.38, or 3.6 percent, to $300.81 in morning trading.

Alirocumab is an injection patients can take every two weeks. The companies said patients who took alirocumab had a greater reduction in levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol than patients treated with Zetia, a statin drug. Regeneron and Sanofi said patients who took alirocumab had their LDL cholesterol levels reduced by 47.2 percent after 24 weeks, compared to 15.6 percent for patients in the Zetia group.

The most common side effects in the trial included infections like influenza and upper respiratory tract infections and muscle-related side effects. The overall rate of side effects was higher in Zetia patients.

The companies are conducting a total of 12 clinical trials of alirocumab. The studies test the drug on different groups and as part of a variety of regimens. In most of the studies patients are taking alirocumab every two weeks. In one they will inject the drug once every four weeks.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., based in Tarrytown, N.Y., makes Eylea, a treatment for the eye conditions "wet" age-related macular degeneration and a form of macular edema. Outside of the U.S., Regeneron shares profits on the drug with Bayer AG.

Sanofi and Regeneron collaborate on Zaltrap, a drug that is approved as a treatment for colorectal cancer.

U.S. shares of France's Sanofi slipped a penny to $49.28 in morning trading.

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