Abbott shoots and it scores--finally. The FDA gave the OK to the company's TriLipix cholesterol drug, a follow-up to the highly successful TriCor, which is facing generic competition. The new med is designed to lower troublesome LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and to raise healthful HDL cholesterol, in combination with a healthy diet.
In some patients the drug can be used in combination with a cholesterol-lowering statin, making it the first drug in its class--fibrates-- to be approved for use with the popular statin meds. Anticipating that angle, Abbott and AstraZeneca have collaborated on a combo pill that comprises TriLipix and Crestor. According to Dow Jones, that drug is scheduled to go to FDA for its potential blessing next year.
Abbott has been hoping for a TriLipix thumbs up for months. Instead of making a decision in October as planned, the FDA told Abbott it needed more time. Now that the drug has been approved, the company can start trying to shift patients over from TriCor before copycat drugs hit the market and drain away TriCor users. It's an important goal: TriCor brought in $1.2 billion in sales last year, and its patents start to expire in 2011.