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AstraZeneca Drug For Heart Condition Fails To Live Up To Expectations

AstraZeneca PLC confirmed that its prescription blood-thinning medication Brilinta did not show any benefits over standard treatments for peripheral artery disease in a massive clinical trial. The failure has thrown up a roadblock in the pharmaceutical company’s ambitions to expand one of its most vital drugs.

The drug manufacturer made the announcement Tuesday that Brilinta failed the clinical trial, showing no more efficiency at treating heart problems in peripheral artery disease patients compared to generic blood thinner clopidogrel. Peripheral artery disease is a condition in which fatty deposits in the arteries block blood flow to the leg muscles, the Wall Street Journal reports.

This disease affects around 8.5 million people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and would have boosted the company’s sales by some $2 billion at the most.

The disappointing news comes as a blow to AstraZeneca’s expectations of increasing Brilinta sales to $3.5 billion by 2023, a supposed milestone in its mission to double overall revenue to $45 billion in the same time period. The company presented these goals two years ago in an attempt to fend off an unsolicited takeover from rival Pfizer Inc. Brilinta sales in 2015 were at $619 million, which was promising.

The company is investing large amounts in a large clinical trial for Brilinta, with the purpose of expanding its functions. Brilinta is already being sold as a treatment for patients who have survived heart attacks, with the intention of preventing other attacks from following.

These marketing efforts have been met with mixed results, as an earlier trial proved that Brilinta was no better than aspirin at preventing strokes.

Executive Vice President for Global Medicines Development and Chief Medical Officer Sean Bohen expressed his disappointment at the results, but pointed out that Brilinta still has “proven benefits of Brilinta in acute coronary syndrome and post-myocardial infarction patients.”

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