SIGNIFY Trial Provokes Sound And Fury Over Controversial Servier and Amgen Drug Reply

The controversial drug ivabradine just got a little more controversial. The drug, which is marketed by Servier under the brand names of Corlentor and Procoralan, is available in Europe and elsewhere and is used for the treatment of heart failure and stable angina. The drug is not available in the US, but it is under development by Amgen for a heart failure indication.

Now a very large new study presented at the European Society of Cardiology meeting in Barcelona and published simultaneously in the New England Journal of Medicine has found no evidence of benefit in a stable angina population and found more adverse events associated with the drug and even suggested the likelihood of harm in a very large and important trial subgroup. The findings have resulted in an investigation by the European Medicines Agency, placing a cloud over the future status of the drug.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

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Silencio! Claiming Pressure From European Regulators, Trial Leaders Cancel Press Conference Reply

Investigators of the much-anticipated and controversial SIGNIFY trial have told the European Society of Cardiology leadership that they will not participate in a previously scheduled press conference on Sunday at the society’s main meeting in Barcelona. But they say they will present the main results of their trial at a Hot Line session later in the afternoon.

According to the ESC, the SIGNIFY investigators, who include Kim Fox, Ian Ford, Philippe Gabriel Steg, Jean-Claude Tardif, Michal Tendera, and Roberto Ferrari, told the ESC leadership that regulators at the European Medicines Authority (EMA) had told the investigators that because they (the investigators) were scheduled to appear before the EMA they should not discuss or comment on their trial outside the official presentation at the ESC conference.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

 

 

PARADIGM-HF Establishes a New Paradigm for Heart Failure Treatment Reply

So far as I can tell the only problem with PARADIGM-HF is that the results are so good that it’s boring. Anyone interested can reasonably assume that what they hear or read about PARADIGM-HF — and cardiologists will be seeing and hearing an awful lot about it —  will be overwhelmingly positive.

Briefly, the trial did everything its sponsor (Novartis) and its investigators (led by Milton Packer and John McMurray) hoped. It met all its major endpoints in all the subgroups without raising any sort of a safety signal. If the findings are confirmed after a rigorous FDA review, then Novartis will likely have a blockbuster on its hand.

All the excitement is over a new drug still known only by its number, LCZ696.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes, including a detailed interview with Milton Packer.

 

Predicting PARADIGM-HF, Or What To Expect When You’re Expecting Reply

The wait is almost over. For the last 5 months the most eagerly awaited trial in the cardiovascular universe has been PARADIGM-HF, the large (8,500 patient) trial of a new and novel heart failure drug from Novartis. If reality lives up to the early hope and hype, the drug, LCZ696, could completely reshape the heart failure landscape and give Novartis that rarest of gems, a new and genuine blockbuster cardiovascular drug.

The main results of the trial will first be presented at a press conference in Barcelona, Spain this Saturday in connection with the annual meeting of the European College of Cardiology.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

Study Offers Little Support for an Old Drug Reply

Digoxin is one of the oldest drugs in the cardiovascular arsenal, derived from the foxglove plant and first described in the 18th century by William Withering. It is frequently used in patients with heart failure (HF) and with atrial fibrillation (AF). The few trials supporting its use were performed in HF patients before newer treatments arrived. There have been no good trials in AF.

A new observational study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology now provides the most detailed perspective on digoxin use in AF. …

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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014; 64(7): 660-668.

 

 

Januvia Linked To Increase in Heart Failure Hospitalizations Reply

The cardiovascular effects of drugs used for glucose control in patients with diabetes have been a subject of controversy for many years now. More recently, attention has started to focus specifically on the risk for heart failure. Now, an observational study will likely raise new questions about the dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP)-4 inhibitor sitagliptin (Januvia, Merck).

In a paper published in JACC Heart Failure, Daniala Weir and colleagues analyzed insurance claims from a database of more than 7600 patients with diabetes and heart failure.

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ESC Hot Lines: First Real Data On Promising Novartis Heart Failure Drug Reply

The first real details about the much-anticipated novel new heart failure drug from Novartis will kick off this year’s Hot Line sessions at the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology in Barcelona, Spain. The meeting runs from August 30 until September 3.

As I have previously reported, the PARADIGM-HF trial was stopped because of a highly statistically significant reduction in cardiovascular mortality in patients taking LCZ696 (a novel, first-in-class Angiotensin Receptor Neprilysin Inhibitor) instead of the current gold standard of treatment, an ACE inhibitor….

Here is the complete list of Hot Line trials:

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Prophylactic ICDs Appear Effective In Less Severe HF Patients Reply

ICDs are routinely implanted in heart failure patients with ejection fractions (EFs) of 35% and lower to prevent sudden cardiac death. However, the benefits in patients at the higher end of the spectrum– between 30% and 35%– have not been well demonstrated in clinical trials, since few patients in this range have been enrolled in clinical trials.

Now a new study published in JAMA suggests that the benefits in this group are similar to the benefits in heart failure patients with more severely depressed EFs.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

FDA Approves Novel Implanted Sensor To Monitor Heart Failure Reply

The FDA announced today that it had approved the CardioMEMS Champion HF System. The small implantable device provides daily pulmonary artery pressure measurements to guide physicians in their treatment of  NYHA Class III heart failure patients who have been hospitalized for heart failure in the previous year. The system consists of three parts: a small permanent sensor implanted in the pulmonary artery, a catheter-based delivery system, and a system that acquires and processes PA pressure measurements from the implanted monitor and transfers the data to a secure database.

Click here to read the entire post on Forbes.

 

FDA Rejects Novel Novartis Drug For Acute Heart Failure Reply

Novartis said today that the FDA had issued a complete response letter for the biologics license application for RLX030. The drug, also known as serelaxin, is a recombinant form of the naturally occurring human hormone relaxin-2, which has been found to help women adjust to the cardiovascular changes that occur during pregnancy.

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Novartis Trial Was Stopped Early Because Of A Significant Drop In Cardiovascular Mortality 1

The largest-ever trial in heart failure was stopped early because of a highly statistically significant reduction in cardiovascular mortality, according to one of the trial’s two primary investigators.

Earlier today I reported that the PARADIGM-HF trial testing LCZ696, a novel, first-in-class Angiotensin Receptor Neprilysin Inhibitor (ARNI), had been stopped early because the trial had demonstrated a significant reduction in the combined primary endpoint of cardiovascular death and heart failure hospitalization. This information was taken from a Novartis press release.

But it turns out that the press release wasn’t entirely accurate. For once, a company appears to have actually downplayed a positive finding in its trial….

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

English: Mohawk Stop Sign

English: Mohawk Stop Sign (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Early Success For Novel Novartis Heart Failure Drug Reply

A large clinical trial testing a novel compound from Novartis for chronic heart failure has been stopped early for efficacy. In a press release Novartis said the Data Monitoring Committee had recommended early closure of the PARADIGM-HF trial because the trial had demonstrated a significant reduction in the combined primary endpoint of cardiovascular death and heart failure hospitalization.

PARADIGM-HF randomized patients with heart failure and reduced left ventricular ejection fraction to either the ACE inhibitor enalapril or LCZ696, an Angiotensin Receptor Neprilysin Inhibitor (ARNI) that is the first in its class.

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FDA Advisory Panel Recommends Against Approval Of Novartis Heart Failure Drug Reply

The FDA’s Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee voted unanimously (11-0) against approval of the biologics license application (BLA) for serelaxin (proposed trade name Reasanz). The novel drug from Novartis was intended to be used in patients with acute heart failure. The once highly-promising drug, which received a ”breakthrough therapy” designation from the FDA last year, was also turned down for approval in Europe earlier this year.

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FDA Reviewers Recommend Against Approval For Novartis Heart Failure Drug 1

Ahead of an important advisory panel FDA reviewers have recommended against approval of a novel drug for acute heart failure from Novartis. The once highly-promising drug, which received a ”breakthrough therapy” designation from the FDA last year, was turned down for approval in Europe earlier this year.

On Thursday the FDA’s Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee will discuss the biologics license application (BLA) for serelaxin injection (proposed trade name Reasanz) from Novartis.

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Heart Failure: The Missing 800 Pound Gorilla In Diabetes Trials Reply

Is heart failure the missing 800 pound gorilla in diabetes trials? That’s the argument proposed by a group of  prominent cardiovascular and diabetes researchers.

It was long believed that by virtue of their glucose-lowering properties diabetes drugs would confer substantial cardiovascular benefits. Now, however, that belief is no longer widely held and the FDA now requires cardiovascular outcome trials for new diabetes drugs. But, write the researchers in  an article published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, these trials are failing to track and analyze one key cardiovascular endpoint, thereby diminishing the value of these trials in assessing the cardiovascular effects of diabetes drugs.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

European Setback For Novartis Heart Failure Drug Reply

European regulators have dealt a setback to a novel heart failure drug under development by Novartis.

The European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) recommended against giving market approval to serelaxin (Reasanz) for the treatment of acute heart failure. The recommendation is based largely on the committee’s analysis of the RELAX-AHF trial, which was published in the Lancet in 2012. Here is CHMP’s explanation for their decision:

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FDA Advisory Panel To Review New Heart Failure Drug From Novartis Reply

A novel acute heart failure drug from Novartis will be evaluated next month by an FDA advisory committee, perhaps countering a long string of crash-and-burn cardiology drugs. On February 13 the FDA’s Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee will discuss the biologics license application (BLA) for serelaxin injection from Novartis. The indication is for the improvement of the symptoms of acute heart failure through reduction of the rate of worsening of heart failure. (The meeting notice has been posted in the Federal Register but has not yet appeared on the FDA website.) Last year the drug received a “breakthrough therapy” designation from the FDA.

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Can Personalized Medicine And An Adaptive Trial Design Salvage This Hard Luck Drug? Reply

Arca Biopharma today announced that it had received FDA clearance to start a phase 2B/3 trial of its novel beta-blocker, Gencaro (bucindolol) for the prevention of atrial fibrillation in patients with heart failure. The GENETIC-AF trial has all the hallmarks of the modern era: the drug will only be tested in patients with a genetic variation that the company believes may predict a positive response to the drug. And the trial will be one of the first to utilize the much-discussed “adaptive” trial design, starting as a phase 2B study and then possibly expanding to a phase 3 study after an interim analysis of the trial data.

But if GENETIC-AF represents the very model of a modern drug, it also serves as a good example of the pitfalls of drug development. Because this drug has been around for a very long time and has had a very troubled history.

Click here to read the full story on Forbes.

 

Michael Bristow, Arca Biopharma President and CEO

 

CardioMEMS Heart Failure Device Gets Mixed Reception From FDA Advisory Panel Reply

The FDA’s Circulatory System Devices Panel sent a mixed message to the FDA today about CardioMEMS Champion HF Pressure Measurement System.  The small implantable device provides provides daily pulmonary artery pressure measurements to guide physicians in their treatment of patients with congestive heart failure.

In December 2011 the same panel voted 9-1 that the device was safe, 7-3 that the device had not been shown to be effective, and 6-4 that the benefits did not outweigh the risks. Now, two years, later, the vote wasn’t much different: the panel agreed unanimously (11-0) that the device was safe; 7-4 that it had not been shown  to be effective, and 6-4-1 that the benefits outweighed the risks.

Click here to read the full story on Forbes.

 

CardioMEMS wireless sensor with quarter

 

Study Raises Questions About Digoxin Use Today Reply

Digitalis is one of the oldest medicines in the cardiovascular arsenal. When William Withering identified digitalis as the active ingredient in the foxglove plant more than 200 years ago he was only codifying a longstanding folk remedy for heart failure, or “dropsy” as it was known then.

Digitalis fully entered the modern era with the publication of the DIG trial in 1997. The trial found that digitalis reduced hospitalization for heart failure but did not have an impact on mortality. On the basis of the trial digitalis received recommendations in the US and European guidelines for use in patients with systolic heart failure who remain symptomatic despite optimal therapy. However, the epidemiology and treatment of heart failure have evolved considerably since then. Now the authors of a new study, supported by an accompanying editorial, say that these recommendations need to be reconsidered.

In a study published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, James Freeman and colleagues followed 2,891 patients with newly diagnosed systolic heart failure, 18% of whom received digitalis. After 2.5 years the digoxin users had a higher rate of death and hospitalization for heart failure…

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Study Fails To Support Broader Patient Population For Cardiac-Resynchronization Therapy Reply

Cardiac-resynchronization therapy (CRT) has been shown to be beneficial in heart failure (HF) patients with a wide QRS interval. These benefits have not been reproduced so far in patients with narrow QRS intervals, though many such patients have ventricular dyssynchrony. Now a new study, presented at the European Society of Cardiology in Amsterdam and published simultaneously in the New England Journal of Medicine, once again has failed to find benefits for CRT in a broader patient population.

The EchoCRT Study Group randomized HF patients with a QRS duration < 130 msec and left ventricular dyssnchrony upon echocardiography. All patients received a CRT-D device; half the patients were randomized to have the CRT feature activated.

The study was stopped prematurely after 809 patients had been randomized and followed for nearly 20 months.

Click here to read the full story on Forbes.

Automatic Wireless Monitoring Shows Benefits in Chronic Heart Failure Reply

Following in the wake of studies that failed to find benefits associated with remote wireless monitoring of heart failure (HF) patients, the In-Time trial, presented at the European Society of Cardiology meeting in Amsterdam, is the first trial to show that home monitoring of HF patients may be beneficial.

Gerhard Hindricks, the coordinating investigator of the trial, said that In-Time was designed to test whether automatic remote home monitoring can detect events that precede clinical events and thereby spark interventions to help reduce hospitalizations for HF. In the trial, 664 chronic HF patients with an indication for an ICD were randomized to home monitoring plus standard care or standard care alone.

Click here to read the full story on Forbes.

 

 

 

Faint PRAISE: 13 Year Delay In Publication Of A Major Clinical Trial Sparks Criticism Reply

13 years after first being presented the results of the PRAISE-2 trial finally have been published in JACC: Heart Failure. The trial itself is now largely irrelevant to current clinical practice, as the hypothesis it tested has long been abandoned, but the long delay in publication may serve to bring even more awareness to the issue of the delay or complete absence of publication of many clinical trials.

An accompanying editorial, by Marc Pfeffer and Hicham Skali, is highly critical of the delay:

Although standards for conduct and reporting of clinical trials have improved since 2000, the failure to fully vet the results of a clinical trial of human volunteers in a peer-reviewed journal was and remains unacceptable.

PRAISE-2 had its origins in the first PRAISE trial, which was first presented in 1995 and subsequently published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1996. In that trial there was no difference between amlodipine (Norvasc, Pfizer) and placebo in the rate of mortality or cardiovascular hospitalization in patients with heart failure. However, a prespecified subgroup analysis turned up the highly surprising result that heart failure patients with a nonischemic etiology who received amlodipine had a highly significant 46% reduction in the risk of death compared with placebo patients.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

Milton Packer

Milton Packer

Novel Heart Failure Drug From Novartis Gains ‘Breakthrough Therapy’ Designation From FDA 1

Serelaxin, the novel therapy under development for the treatment of acute heart failure, has received a “breakthrough therapy” designation from the FDA, according to Novartis, the company developing the drug. The designation, the FDA explains, “is intended to expedite the development and review of drugs for serious or life-threatening conditions” and requires “preliminary clinical evidence that demonstrates the drug may have substantial improvement on at least one clinically significant endpoint over available therapy.” In addition to getting a speedier review process, the sponsor of a drug with the designation receives “more intensive FDA guidance” on the development program.

Click here to read the full story on Forbes.

 

Interpretations Differ Over Study Of Coenzyme Q10 In Heart Failure Reply

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) may be beneficial in heart failure, according to the results of the Q-SYMBIO study presented this past weekend at the Heart Failure 2013 meeting in Lisbon, Portugal. But the results should be viewed with a critical eye, say experts.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes, including a comment from Milton Packer.