Today, Lilly Ended Evacetrapib — Its CETP Inhibitor Program — What Then, To Make Of Merck’s Anacetrapib?

While Roche and Merck continue to move forward with CETP inhibitor R&D programs — I think it worth taking a moment to look at the less than wonderful data Lilly just saw, on its Phase III CETP candidate, evacetrapib.

As we have written before, this class of meds has been written off, only to be revived — several times, over the last half-decade. Here is the Lilly tidbit, leaving me with no answers — only more questions (though net-net, I would be surprised if it turned out to be class wide):

. . . .Lilly said it has ended late-stage development of evacetrapib, which was part of a costly study involving 12,095 patients at 540 sites in 37 countries. The therapy was in Phase 3 development — the final stage before a drug can be submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for approval.

The failure to bring the drug to the market reflects a significant setback for Lilly, which saw shares fall more than 10% to $77 in pre-market trading before regaining some ground.

An independent data monitoring committee “suggested there was a low probability the study would achieve its primary endpoint based on results to date,” Lilly said in a statement.

The drug, which was supposed to treat people at a high-risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, displayed “insufficient efficacy” the company said.

The company emphasized that the study was not halted because of safety problems. . . .

I am not enough of a chemist to say whether we should expect to see a similar CETP class-wide underperformance in Merck’s program. But I guarantee that several of the generally great chemists at Merck, and Roche are efforting that careful conjecture, right now. Onward — ever smiling!

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