Blood fats drug by Amarin on sale in US
A drug developed by Irish biopharma group Amarin, to tackle dangerously high levels of blood fats, has gone on sale in the United States.
The commercial launch yesterday of Vascepa, essentially a purified omega-3 fish oil, marks a vindication for the company which came close to collapse at one point in the drug’s development.
The drug has been approved as a therapy for people with very high triglycerides. Triglycerides are blood fats stored from food and then released in the body as energy. At normal levels they present little problem, but at elevated lev- els, they are seen as increasing the risk of heart disease.
The company estimates that there is a market of four million people in the US alone. It is also seeking approval to treat people with high, but less dramatic, levels of triglycerides, which could open up a market of more than 100 million worldwide.
“Other approved products for treating very high triglycerides have long been associated with raising LDL-C, commonly called bad cholesterol,” said Amarin chairman and chief executive Joseph Zakrzewski. Vascepa, he said, was the first not to do so while also delivering a very strong safety profile.