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New heart disease drug to be made available through ground-breaking clinical trial

Published: 13 January 2020

Up to 30,000 lives could be saved over the next decade thanks to a proposed pioneering government collaboration with pharmaceutical company Novartis to tackle heart disease – a leading cause of death in the UK.

The yet to be approved drug inclisiran, a treatment to lower cholesterol, will be studied in UK patients as part of a large-scale NHS clinical trial expected to start later this year. Additionally in a world-first, the drug is expected to be available through a population-level agreement – pioneering a game-changing approach to reducing the risk of heart disease.

The trial will be delivered by the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN), who, in collaboration with NHS England, Oxford University and Novartis, will pilot an innovative approach to identifying, recruiting and following a large-scale patient group. Potentially eligible patients will be identified via NHS Digital screening patient records nationally and contacted to attend a screening visit at one of 40 trial centres. These centres will be in community settings in order to reach people where they live.

Early results from clinical trials suggest that if inclisiran is given to 300,000 patients annually, it could help prevent 55,000 heart attacks and strokes, and has the potential of saving 30,000 lives in the next 10 years.

Heart disease is the world’s biggest killer and the second biggest cause of death in the UK, with over three million people suffering from atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and two and a half million currently relying on statins to lower their cholesterol. Recent trials have shown inclisiran can halve bad cholesterol in just two weeks.

Matt Cooper, CRN Business Development and Marketing Director, said: “This innovative collaboration between the NIHR, the life sciences industry and the NHS stands to enhance the UK’s position as a world-leader in developing revolutionary medicines, with the potential to treat conditions affecting large numbers of people.

“The NIHR Clinical Research Network offers a globally unique package of support which enables the life sciences industry to deliver high quality clinical research studies to large numbers of people within the UK’s health service.” 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “As Health Secretary, I'm determined to find ways to save as many lives as possible, and to do my best to stop terrible conditions like heart disease from taking people from their family and friends far too soon.

“This partnership is fantastic news and is a huge stride forwards in helping to achieve this. This collaboration has the potential to save 30,000 lives over the next ten years and is proof that the UK continues to be the world-leading destination for revolutionary healthcare.

Notes to the Editor

  • Over three million people in the UK have a condition called atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, with two and a half million currently relying on statins to lower their cholesterol. Recent trials have shown inclisiran can halve bad cholesterol in just two weeks.
  • Inclisiran will be put through the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) fast-track approval programme and could be widely available for patients with heart disease on the NHS as soon as 2021.

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