Docs, Investors Await News on Plaque Drug

 

January 5, 2007

Jan. 5, 2007 — An announcement from AstraZeneca is expected soon about the company’s experimental heart drug AGI-1067, the company’s partner AtheroGenics Inc. hopes to present results from a pivotal Phase III clinical trial to the American College of Cardiology (ACC) meeting in New Orleans. Deadline for research submissions was yesterday, and therefore, analysts surmise, AtheroGenics may be negotiating with ACC what news it and AstraZeneca can release to investors prior to the meeting.

An AstraZeneca spokesman said the news was still expected early in 2007. Meanwhile Atherogenics CEO Russell Medford is slated to address J.P. Morgan's annual healthcare conference Jan. 10.

In December of 2005 AstraZeneca agreed to pay AtheroGenics up to $1 billion for exclusive rights to AGI-1067, an anti-inflammatory product designed to reduce the build-up of plaque inside arteries that can lead to heart attack and stroke.

AGI-1067 belongs to a small group of experimental medicines aimed at treating atherosclerosis. If successful, it and rival products from GlaxoSmithKline and Iceland's Decode Genetics Inc. could be the next major advance in treating heart disease — current treatments for atherosclerosis are anti-inflammatory drugs, which reduce the risk of disease progressing by only 30 to 35 percent.

In December, Pfizer Inc.’s key new medicine torcetrapib, did not prove to be successful in raising levels of "good" HDL cholesterol.