Actelion Ltd.'s Key Drug Halves Risk of Death, Hospitalization

Published: Oct 18, 2012

Actelion Ltd.’s (ATLN) experimental lung drug macitentan halved the risk of death or hospitalization from pulmonary arterial hypertension in a preview of a study to be presented next week that is key to Actelion’s future. A 10-milligram dose also cut the risk of the disease worsening by 38 percent in patients getting another treatment, and 55 percent in those receiving nothing else, according to a summary of the trial published on the website of the journal CHEST. Actelion said in April macitentan lowered the risk of the disease worsening by 45 percent, without giving details. Investors have been anticipating the data because they’re looking for evidence that macitentan can replace Tracleer, the pill that accounts for 87 percent of Actelion’s sales and starts losing patent protection in 2016. Actelion plans to submit macitentan for regulatory approval in the U.S. and Europe in the coming weeks, and will sell it under the brand name Opsumit, the company said in a statement today. The reduction in deaths and hospitalizations due to PAH was “impressive,” Peter Welford, an analyst at Jefferies International Ltd. in London, said in a telephone interview. “Given that PAH hospitalization is a hard endpoint, and one I think payers will respond to, to reduce that by 50 percent with the 10-milligram dose I would say is very promising.”

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