AstraZeneca cuts sales goals for blood thinner after disappointing results

AstraZeneca announced on Oct. 4 that patients with symptomatic peripheral artery disease who took ticagrelor (Brilinta) did not have better outcomes than those who received clopidogrel, a rival blood thinner.

Based on the top-line results, AstraZeneca executive Ludovic Helfgott told Reuters that the company’s $3.5 billion per year sales target by 2023 was attainable.

“I think it would be unrealistic to believe that,” Helfgott told Reuters.

Full results of the EUCLID study are expected to be presented in November at the American Heart Association scientific sessions in New Orleans. The researchers enrolled 13,885 patients in 28 countries and compared 90 mg of ticagrelor twice daily with 75 mg of clopidogrel once daily to prevent atherothrombotic events. The patients were at least 50 years old and had symptomatic peripheral artery disease.

The primary endpoint was the time to first occurrence of cardiovascular death, MI or ischemic stroke. AstraZeneca said that the preliminary safety results of ticagrelor were consistent with the medication’s known safety profile.

In 2015, sales of ticagrelor were $619 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The FDA has approved 90 mg of ticagrelor for patients with acute coronary syndromes, non-ST-elevation MI and ST-elevation MI. The agency has also approved 60 mg of the medication for patients who had an MI at least a year ago and are at high risk of developing another atherothrombotic event.