Issue Date: May 14, 2012
Roche Halts Cholesterol Drug Study
Roche has stopped a Phase III trial of dalcetrapib, a compound that raises levels of high-density lipoprotein, or “good” cholesterol, by blocking cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP). Dalcetrapib, which Roche had hoped would have blockbuster sales—over $1 billion per year—failed to show signs of meaningful benefit in patients with heart disease. Dalcetrapib inhibits the same target as Pfizer’s torcetrapib, which was pulled from development in 2006 after safety problems cropped up in a late-stage trial. The Roche drug disappointment raises concerns for the future of other CETP inhibitors being developed by Merck & Co. and Eli Lilly & Co.
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