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12:00 AM
 | 
May 28, 2007
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

Tekturna con and pro

Tekturna aliskiren from Novartis AG and Speedel AG already faces an uphill marketing battle in the hypertension space, as the first-in-class renin inhibitor has a higher price tag than the slew of generic medicines in the field. Recently, Tekturna was challenged on the clinical side, as researchers at Cornell University's Weill Medical College wrote in the American Journal of Hypertension that the drug's efficacy is no different than that of older hypertension drugs, and recommended sticking with the cheaper generics.

Speedel, however, maintains that Tekturna's selling proposition rests on its long half-life and lack of blood pressure rebound effects once treatment is stopped.

The kidneys secrete renin when the body has decreases in blood volume and renal perfusion. Upon secretion, renin cleaves angiotensinogen, which results in the formation of angiotensin I, an inactive peptide. Angiotensin I is converted to an active peptide, angiotensin II, by angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE). Angiotensin II has two key functions: vasoconstriction and inhibition of renin release via a negative feedback loop.

Although it sounds counterintuitive, all agents that act on the renin-angiotensin system, including Tekturna, ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), actually increase the concentration of renin in the plasma. That's because...

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