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AstraZeneca abandons fish oil pill for bad cholesterol
[PARIS] AstraZeneca Plc will stop testing a fish-oil pill for one form of cholesterol in the most advanced and expensive stage of clinical tests.
The medicine, called Epanova, didn't stand a very high likelihood of showing a benefit when combined with a statin for patients at risk of heart disease due to high levels of LDL (or bad) cholesterol, Astra said in a statement Monday.
Epanova, which Astra gained with its takeover of Omthera Pharmaceuticals in 2013, is a prescription omega-3 capsule approved to treat high levels of triglycerides, which also clog up patients' arteries. Fish oils contain fatty acids that help combat the deposits.
A writedown of as much as US$100 million related to inventories will impact core earnings in the fourth quarter 2019, Astra said. The company will review the drug's US$533 million value as an intangible asset. Astra shares were little changed early in London.
"It was important to assess the potential benefit of Epanova in mixed dyslipidemia," Mene Pangalos, head of biopharmaceutical drug development, said in the statement. "We are disappointed by these results."
Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expected the medicine to generate peak revenue of US$145 million in 2023.