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December 14, 2012
Mipomersen In Trouble
I wrote here in 2009 about Kynamro (mipomersen), an antisense oligonucleotide from Isis targeted LDL cholesterol levels. At the time, Isis and Genzyme were starting to look at its use in people with familial hypercholesterolaemia, and its prospects looked promising to become at least a profitable niche drug.
But the European Medicines Authority just turned down the drug, saying that its risk/benefit ratio just looks unacceptable. Efficacy was not in doubt, but a substantial number of patients stopped taking mipomersen because of side effects, including liver toxicity. That's bad enough, but the treatment groups also showed a great incidence of cardiovascular events, which is particularly worth thinking about when you're trying to lower LDL to prevent. . .cardiovascular events.
Human lipid handling continues to be a minefield for new therapies. The statins (which lower LDL through inhibiting cholesterol biosynthesis) appear, more and more, to be outliers in their safety and efficacy. That's not to say that statin drugs never have problems (they do - just ask Bayer, among others). But the risk/benefit for them does appear to be robust and positive, and how many other lipid-altering drugs can say that?
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