The results of a much-awaited clinical trial showed that long-term use of AstraZeneca PLC (ADR) (NYSE:AZN)’s heart medication Brilinta can lower the risks of death in patients. Based on the positive results, AstraZeneca is seeking long-term use of the drug in the U.S. and Europe. The results of the new study of Brilinta are expected to boost sales of the drug.
Brilinta’s study for long-term use enrolled 21,000 patients, which was the largest number of subjects that AstraZeneca PLC (ADR) (NYSE:AZN) ever recruited in a single trial. The details of the study were disclosed in the New England Journal of Medicine and also at the annual meeting at American College of Cardiology.
Lower cardiovascular risks
The study showed that 7.77% of the patient population that took the twice daily dose of 60-mg Brilinta together with aspirin suffered unfavorable cardiovascular events. That compared to 9.04% of the patient group that took aspirin only. As such, Brilinta achieved 16% reduction in cardiovascular risk compared to aspirin. In the group that book 90-mg Brilinta, 15% risk reduction was achieved.
However, the study noted that there were incidents of major bleeding at 2.3% among the patients that took 60-mg Brilinta compared to 1.06% among those that took aspirin only. Therefore, while Brilinta is able to reduce cardiovascular risks in long-term use, the drug also comes with some risks, mainly bleeding.
According to Tom Keith-Roach, AstraZeneca PLC (ADR) (NYSE:AZN)’s heads of Brilinta, the study will be able to double the number of patients that are eligible for the drug and that will also boost sales. Brilinta competes for market share with drugs such as Eli Lilly and Co (NYSE:LLY)‘s Effient and Sanofi SA (ARD) (NYSE:SNY) and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE:BMY)‘s Plavix, which is currently available in cheap generic versions.
AstraZeneca PLC (ADR) (NYSE:AZN) predicts that Brilinta will be able to bring in annual revenue of $3.5 billion by 2023. Currently, analysts forecast that the drug could bring in $1.5 billion in revenue by 2020. Brilinta brought in revenue of $476 million last year.