New cardiac drug shows real, life-saving promise

Posted Aug 31, 2014 by Mike Rossi
A new drug developed by Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis could turn the world of cardiovascular medicine on its head in less than 12 months.
Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis' headquarters  pictured in Basel  on January 28  2009
Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis' headquarters, pictured in Basel, on January 28, 2009
Sebastien Bozon, AFP/File
The currently unnamed drug — referred to only by its batch LCZ696 — has already demonstrated its worth in clinical trials as a head and shoulders improvement over today's commonly prescribed drugs.
Novaratis released their findings to physicians during the European Society of Cardiology's meeting in Barcelona over the weekend.
At this stage, the drug appears to cut the risk of hospitalization or death due to heart failure by a margin of roughly 20 percent.
So successful was the drug during testing that Novartis actually terminated their trials seven months early.
LCZ696 is primarily a combination of two distinct medicines that work in unison to block substances found to be harmful to cardiac tissue while promoting those believed to protect it. The drug also improves blood flow and pumping efficiency, thereby reducing stress on the heart and the likelihood of failure.
Nearly 25 million people deal with a risk of heart failure, including around 6 million in the United States, making it "the number-one cause of death world-wide," according to the World Health Organization.
Given those numbers, financial experts believe American and European ratification of the drug will bring a multi-billion dollar windfall to Novartis, with forecasters estimating annual sales in the $6-$8 billion range.
For now, the LCZ696 will remain inaccessible to the public but Novartis will file an application for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval before the end of 2014. The company hopes to have the drug available to both US and European markets no-later than the middle of 2015.