Designed to be taken twice a day by a massive group of patients suffering from chronic heart failure, the treatment is a dual-acting angiotensin receptor-neprilysin inhibitor, taking a one-two punch with valsartan and AHU-377. AHU-377 blocks a mechanism of action that threatens two peptides responsible for lowering blood pressure while valsartan improves vasodilation, spurring the body to excrete sodium and water.
LCZ696 has been living up to its rep as the next big thing in Novartis’s cardiovascular pipeline–a big factor in getting over the profound disappointment caused by the failure of serelaxin with regulators. The clinical work for this drug is being divided into two basic segments. This first part covered at the AHA involves prompting the heart to contract and empty more normally for heart failure patients. The next step, to be covered in an upcoming trial, will examine its ability to complete another essential task for the heart muscle: relaxation and filling.
An initial approval for this drug would open up a huge and growing market in the heart failure field. But further success has the potential to make this drug a player in the lives of 75% to 80% of the entire patient population, says the investigator, one reason why Novartis execs are estimating peak sales at $5 billion or more. Investigators had to compare their new drug with a standard of care for patients. But by extrapolating data from enalapril, they found a “really impressive 32%-34% reduction in cardio mortality and a 45%-50% reduction in hospitalizations.”