Roche Holding AG (ROG)’s abandoned heart drug dalcetrapib, designed to raise levels of good cholesterol, also boosted blood pressure and inflammation, researchers said.
Dalcetrapib marks the second failure in what was expected to be a new blockbuster class of heart medicines known as CETP inhibitors. The Basel, Switzerland-based drugmaker halted development of the drug in May, saying an early look at study results found the medicine wasn’t helping patients. Pfizer Inc. (PFE) dropped its pill torcetrapib in December 2006 after studies showed it raised blood pressure and boosted death rates.
The findings presented today at the American Heart Association meeting in Los Angeles showed dalcetrapib had unexpected side effects that may have contributed to its downfall. While it didn’t increase hypertension in the same manner or amount as torcetrapib and there weren’t more deaths, it’s possible the medicines could have damaged blood vessels, the researchers said. That may have implications for Merck & Co. (MRK) and Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY), who are developing similar compounds.