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Nov 12, 2012
 |  BioCentury  |  Product Development

Omega-3 for all

Omthera's Epanova omega-3 product could compete favorably with Lovaza, Vascepa

Omthera Pharmaceuticals Inc. thinks Phase III data for Epanova show the omega-3 fatty acid could compete with approved lipid-lowering drugs Lovaza and Vascepa icosapent ethyl in patients who are already taking statins to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

All three are omega-3 fatty acid products containing eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and/or docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), both of which lower triglycerides by mechanisms that are not well understood.

Lovaza, a mixture of the ethyl esters of EPA (ethyl-EPA) and DHA (ethyl-DHA), is marketed to treat hypertriglyceridemia and hyperlipidemia. GlaxoSmithKline plc markets Lovaza in the U.S., while Pronova Biopharma ASA markets the drug in Europe and parts of Asia as Omacor. Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. has exclusive rights in Japan.

Worldwide sales of Lovaza were £569 million ($910 million) in 2011 and £459 million ($734 million) for the first nine months of 2012.

Vascepa, a >96% pure ethyl-EPA without DHA from Amarin Corp. plc, is approved to treat hypertriglyceridemia and is in registration to treat dyslipidemia. Amarin expects to launch the drug next quarter.

Epanova is an ultra-pure mixture of the free fatty acid forms of EPA and DHA. Omthera is developing the free fatty acid forms because they are more bioavailable -...

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