Eli Lilly’s experimental drug lowers risk of heart disease by 94%: study

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By Dan Sears

Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly’s experimental vaccine-like drug slashed a risk factor for heart disease by a whopping 94% for almost a year, according to a report.

Findings from the phase 1 trial with Eli Lilly’s lipodisiran drug found that the highest dose reduced a heart disease-linked protein — that functions similarly to LDL, known as “bad cholesterol” — to undetectable levels for 48 weeks, Bloomberg reported.

Within the first two weeks, that protein — Lipoprotein(a), or Lp(a) — was reduced by the top dose of lipodisiran by as much as 96%, the first-in-human study showed.

The trial participants then maintained levels more than 94% below the baseline for the following 48 weeks.

The stunning results from lipodisiran, which is administered as an annual shot similar to a once-a-year flu vaccine, raises hope for people whose genetic makeup puts them at high risk for heart disease, Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Steve Nissen, who led the study, told Bloomberg.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization list heart disease as the leading cause of death in the US in 2022, topping cancer and COVID. Last year, 695,547 Americans died of heart disease, 605,213 from cancer and 416,893 from COVID, the CDC figures showed.

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Eli Lilly’s experimental vaccine-like drug, lipodisiran, slashed a risk factor for heart disease by a whopping 94% for about a year, according to a first-in-human study by a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

“This approach to treatment gives hope to the 20% of the world’s population who have elevated Lp(a) levels,” Nissen said in the initial press release on his findings.

The trial included 48 patients from the US and Singapore, with an average age of 47, the press release said.

Their reactions to the experimental drug were studied along with six different dosages and a placebo, which were all administered as injections. Participants were monitored for up to 48 weeks after administration.

It’s unclear how patients were chosen for this trial, which is currently in phase 2.

It wasn’t immediately clear when lipodisiran could become publicly available should its trial continue trending so positively.

The Post has sought comment from the Cleveland Clinic and Eli Lilly.

Shares of Eli Lilly ticked nearly 2% higher on Monday, to $608.48.

The study, which monitored 48 patients with an average age of 47, was led by cardiologist Steven Nissen at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.
Cleveland Clinic

Nissen’s findings after the Lilly-sponsored trial were presented Sunday at an American Heart Association in Philadelphia, and also published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, according to Bloomberg.

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At the same meeting, Ozempic-maker Novo Nordisk revealed a study that showed heart benefits from patients taking its diabetes-turned-weight-loss drug Wegovy.

The pivotal study, which was also conducted at the Cleveland Clinic, concluded that Wegovy can reduce the risk of severe heart problems by 20%, paving the way for applications far beyond weight loss.

The research, paid for by Wegovy and Ozempic maker Novo Nordisk, enrolled over 17,600 people from 41 countries.

Patients were 45 years or older and had a preexisting cardiovascular disease and a body-mass index of 27 or greater — but no history of diabetes.

Lipodisiran’s positive phase 1 trial serves as hope for the 20% of the world’s population that suffers from heart disease — the No. 1 cause of death — according to Nissen.

Half the patients got weekly injections of Wegovy or a placebo shot — with participants tracked for more than three years on average.

Some 69.5%, or 569, of those who received the drug experienced a heart attack or stroke or died from a heart-related cause, compared with 701, or 8%, of those who had the dummy shot.

The participants on Wegovy lost around 10% of their weight on average and kept those pounds off throughout the trial.

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