ARTICLE | Product Development

HDL Rising, Again

Safety of Merck's anacetrapib a boost for cholesterol-lowering CETP inhibitors

November 22, 2010 8:00 AM UTC

Four years after the high profile failure of Pfizer Inc.'s torcetrapib caused a serious rethink about the prospects of inhibiting cholesteryl ester transfer protein, data from a Phase III safety study last week suggest Merck & Co. Inc.'s anacetrapib may offer similar lipid modulation without the side effects. But proof that the approach provides clinical benefit will have to wait three to five years until results of large-scale outcome studies are available.

Despite the 2006 torcetrapib setback and Pfizer's subsequent exit from development of drugs to treat dyslipidemia, several companies pressed forward. They worked on the biology and technical issues that had stymied early development efforts to harness the atheroprotective effects associated with raising HDL, which takes up cholesterol from artery walls and carries it to the liver for excretion...