Winning from Boosting Good Cholesterol (RVXCF, RVX, PFE, AZN, MRK)

March 5, 2010 · Filed Under Atherosclerosis, Financial, Heart, R&D · 2 Comments 

BioHealthInvestor usually sticks to US companies or at least sticks to ADRs for investors.  But sometimes there is a much larger bit of data either north of the border or in Europe.  There is a company called  Resverlogix Corp. which trades in Canada under the ticker ‘RVX’ and the stock also trades in the US on the Pink Sheets under the ticker ‘RVXCF.’  The stock is soaring today after Bloomberg gave a very positive article highlighting the merits of the company’s RVX-208.  This potential drug candidate is targeting atherosclerosis in acute coronary syndrome patients.  The target is to raise HDL levels to effectively reverse arterial plaque buildup.  The company noted that there are approximately 350 million patients that require treatment for atherosclerosis.

We wanted to take a look at the potential for this drug candidate outside of what the article has to offer.  Resverlogix is a clinical stage Canadian company which currently has no real products.  The company has been public since late 2004.  It has traded well under $5.00 and at ome point briefly rose to north of $20 per share in 2007.

Late in February, the company officially activated the first site for the ASSURE 1 trial and commenced enrollment of patients for dosing of RVX-208. This is the second Resverlogix Phase 2 clinical trial, led by Cleveland Clinic, and it will examine and evaluate this oral small molecule therapy for the treatment of atherosclerosis in patients with acute coronary syndrome.

As per the trial data:
This IVUS study is comprised of 15-20 US sites will dose approximately 120 ACS patients on standard of care therapy and examine lipid effects by RVX-208 compared to placebo control. In half of the patients a change in atherosclerosis will be assessed, i.e. change in plaque volume and plaque composition. The primary objective of this study is to determine the 3 month effect of RVX-208 on change in the plasma levels of ApoA-l in patients with a recent ACS event who require coronary angiography versus placebo. The secondary objectives for this study include assessing the safety and tolerability of the drug through evaluation of adverse events as well as to evaluate the effect of RVX-208 on other lipid parameters.

Here is the catch, and the ultimate factor which makes this a potential Holy Grail… Most cholesterol medications today are used as preventative medicine rather than just for treating those who have already had a stroke or heart attack or those who already have severe blockage.  Statins and other lipid lowering agents account for billions and billions of dollars per year in revenues for Big Pharma.  If this drug is ultimately approved for preventative measures the sky is the limit.

AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) has Crestor; sales of Crestor are forecast to reach $6.5 billion in 2013, up from $4.5 billion in 2009, per Thomson Reuters.
Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) has Lipitor; Lipitor brought in approximately $11.4 billion in revenue in 2009.
Merck & Co. (NYSE: MRK) has Vytorin; Annual worldwide sales for 2009 were $2.2 billion for ZETIA and $2.1 billion for VYTORIN.

The statin market is also coming under some generic pressure.

There are risks here.  Many have tried this HDL raising tactic and targeting plaque. None of the existing drugs have effectively proven to be the ultimate plaque-eater.  Pfizer has so far spent billions.  This is a hopeful treatment but it is going to be some time before the results of a larger study are known and it will be far longer before the side effects are known.

Stay tuned.

JON C. OGG

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