FDA approves inclisiran to lower LDL cholesterol and keep it low with two doses a year
East Hanover - US Food and Drug Administration has approved inclisiran (Leqvio; Novartis) for lowering LDL cholesterol levels.
Inclisiran is a small interfering RNA (siRNA) therapy which has been approved as an adjunct to diet and maximally tolerated statin therapy in patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) or heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) with LDL cholesterol levels that are still too high.
Regarding the dosage part, following a first injection, a second injection is given at 3 months, and subsequently every 6 months thereafter.
"Leqvio is a revolutionary approach to lower LDL-C, and creates new possibilities for how healthcare systems can impact cardiovascular disease, a defining public health challenge of our time," said Vas Narasimhan, Novartis CEO. "We now have the opportunity, working together with partners, to provide this first-ever approved LDL-C–lowering siRNA-based therapy to tackle ASCVD at scale across the United States."
Leqvio is indicated in the United States as an adjunct to diet and maximally tolerated statin therapy for the treatment of adults with clinical atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) or heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH) who require additional lowering of LDL-C. The effect of Leqvio on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality is being explored in clinical trials currently underway.
"ASCVD is a substantial public health burden affecting 30 million Americans," said Norman Lepor, MD, a Los Angeles based cardiologist and a clinical investigator in the Phase III clinical program for Leqvio. "As a first-of-its-kind siRNA therapy, Leqvio works differently than other cholesterol treatments, with twice-yearly dosing that makes it a compelling option for the millions of people with ASCVD already on cholesterol-lowering medications struggling to reach their LDL-C target."
Leqvio reduces the amount of LDL-C in the bloodstream by improving the liver's natural ability to prevent the production of a protein that plays a role in keeping circulating cholesterol levels high6,7. It is a subcutaneous injection given by a healthcare provider with an initial dose, then again at three months, and then every six months1. This approach may help those who have trouble sticking to medicines that are self-administered and have greater dosing frequency. Leqvio will be available in early January 2022.
"People with ASCVD have most likely experienced a heart attack or stroke from high cholesterol, causing a burden on the family and having a negative impact on lives," said Andrea Baer, Executive Director of The Mended Hearts, Inc. "One of the first steps to improving patients' health is to manage high cholesterol and we're encouraged that this new twice-a-year treatment offers a new option."
The FDA approval was based on results from the comprehensive Phase III ORION-9, -10 and -11 clinical trials, in which all 3,457 participants with ASCVD or HeFH had elevated LDL-C while receiving a maximally tolerated dose of statin therapy2,3. In the Phase III trials at month 17, Leqvio delivered effective and sustained LDL-C reduction of up to 52% vs. placebo and was reported to be well-tolerated with a safety profile shown to be comparable to placebo2,3. The most common side effects were mild to moderate injection site reaction (including pain, redness and rash), joint pain, urinary tract infection, diarrhea, chest cold, pain in legs or arms and shortness of breath2,3.
Novartis has obtained global rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize Leqvio under a license and collaboration agreement with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, a leader in RNAi therapeutics.