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Novartis, NHS strike ‘innovative’ cardiovascular deal

Novartis has announced plans to partner with the NHS in a “world-first” approach to addressing cardiovascular disease (CVD).

The collaboration, which could see the companies providing investigational drug inclisiran to secondary prevention atherosclerotic CVD patients, could allegedly save up to 30,000 lives over the next decade.

The yet to be approved drug will be studied in UK patients as part of a large-scale NHS clinical trial, which is expected to start later this year. If successful, the cholesterol lowering treatment is expected to be made available through a “population-level agreement”.

The “ground-breaking” alliance hopes to position the UK as a world-leading destination to develop cutting-edge treatments, with health secretary Matt Hancock saying he is “determined” find ways to save as many lives as possible, and “to do my best to stop terrible conditions like heart disease from taking people from their family and friends far too soon.”

He continued to say that the partnership is “fantastic news and is a huge stride forwards in helping to achieve this.”

“I will always help the NHS reach its full potential, and novel and innovative collaborations such as this put patients at the forefront of the most promising medical breakthroughs.”

A final proposal of the deal includes the creation of an industry and academic consortium to look at manufacturing synergies that could improve the efficiency and scale at which the UK can manufacture oligonucleotide medicines – such as inclisiran.

The Swiss pharma giant is currently investigating the bi-annual injection in a Phase III trial, with expected European Medicines Agency (EMA) regulatory filing as a preventative add-on treatment to statins for patients who have already been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease later this year.

Novartis chief executive officer Vas Narasimhan commented on the “unique” opportunity, saying the company hopes the partnership will “open up a new chapter for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, the world’s leading cause of mortality and disability.”

He continued: “Novartis is excited to partner with the UK government to leverage innovative models that could potentially lead to generating leading scientific evidence, accelerate access for patients and ensure continuous improvement in manufacturing efficiency and optimisation.”

Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death that results from a thickening and loss of elasticity in the arterial wall, and is responsible for around 64,000 deaths in the UK each year.