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Novartis to develop and commercialise TQJ230 agent for cardiovascular therapy

Novartis has announced that it is exercising its option to license the rights to develop and commercialise TQJ230, an investigational agent previously known as AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx, from Akcea Therapeutics, an affiliate of Ionis Pharmaceuticals, for targeted cardiovascular therapy.

TQJ230 was discovered by Ionis and has been co-developed to date by Akcea and Ionis. Novartis is now responsible for worldwide development and commercialisation of this asset.

Millions of people have elevated Lp(a), an independent inherited cardiovascular disease risk factor. It is estimated that 20-30% of people who suffer from CVD have elevated Lp(a). Currently, no treatment exists that specifically targets elevated Lp(a), and diet and other lifestyle changes are also not effective at reducing elevated levels. Results of a Phase 2 study presented at AHA in November 2018 showed that TQJ230 significantly reduced Lp(a) in patients with high Lp(a) and pre-existing CVD. Novartis plans to conduct a Phase 3 cardiovascular outcomes trial with the potential of addressing the Lp(a) patient community’s unmet need for effective treatment.

“No treatments are currently available to substantially lower Lp(a). People with this inherited risk factor are facing cardiovascular risks that cannot be addressed effectively with lifestyle changes,” said John Tsai, Head of Global Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer at Novartis.

“We’re excited about the novel, RNA-targeting approach that could be a game-changer for people with elevated Lp(a). If our Phase 3 trial succeeds, we expect that TQJ230 will become the leading treatment option and another pillar of our longstanding commitment to re-imagining cardiovascular medicine.”

Lp(a) is a lipoprotein that travels through the blood. Elevated levels of Lp(a) collect in the arteries, gradually narrowing the arteries and limiting blood supply to the heart, brain, kidneys and legs. This can lead to increased risk of coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, thrombosis and stroke.