No early win for Sanofi, Regeneron cholesterol drug in study

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[November 17, 2016]  (Reuters) - Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals said on Thursday they would continue a large clinical outcomes study with their injectable cholesterol-lowering drug Praluent.

There had been an option for the trial to be stopped early if it showed overwhelming efficacy at the interim stage but an independent data monitoring committee recommended it should continue.

The trial involves more than 18,000 patients from 57 countries and is designed to demonstrate that Praluent reduces the risk of serious cardiovascular events, like heart attacks and strokes.

Some investors had thought the drug might be so effective that the trial, called Odyssey Outcomes, would be halted at the interim point, although many analysts had viewed this as an outside chance. Praluent could still prove itself at the final stage, when more data will have been amassed.

The treatment belongs to a new class of medicines targeting the PCSK9 protein that maintains LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream. They work differently from statins, which block the liver's production of LDL cholesterol in the first place.

Amgen sells a rival product called Repatha.

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(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Keith Weir)

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