Novartis's LCZ696 is Found to Lower Hypertension

An experimental hypertension therapy in Novartis' pipeline has cleared an important mid-stage clinical trial hurdle and is headed for a pivotal test.

Researchers for the pharma giant say that LCZ696--a combination of the experimental AHU377 with the standard drug Diovan-- significantly better than Diovan alone. And the combo therapy clearly outperformed a placebo.
LCZ696 is a new molecule created from the combination of AHU377 and Diovan. AHU377 is a new kind of drug similar to Bristol-Myers Squibb's omipatrilat, which was once thought to be a potential blockbuster before signs of dangerous side effects scuttled the program. This new therapy is designed to enhance the body's natural blood-pressure lowering machinery. The drug blocks angiotensin-2--which constricts blood vessels--while spurring a natural diuretic the body generates to help ease blood pressure.

Novartis Pharma has reported that its investigational product LCZ696, an angiotensin receptor neprilysin inhibitor (ARNI), has successfully completed its first large-scale clinical trial, highlighting the potential of the compound in the treatment of hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases.
LCZ696 is a novel-acting compound with distinctive chemical and biological properties; upon oral administration, it simultaneously inhibits both NEP and the angiotensin receptor. By targeting these two neurohormonal systems at the same time, LCZ696 may provide additional cardio-renal protection over current therapies for the treatment of cardiovascular disease.

A new drug that enhances the body’s own blood pressure–lowering machinery has shown effectiveness in a large test, researchers reported online March 16 in the Lancet. The results have set the stage for a trial needed for regulatory approval in which the drug will be tested in heart failure patients, who are likely to benefit from its vessel-relaxing effects.

The drug is so new it still doesn’t have a name, having been dubbed LCZ696 by its maker, Novartis, which funded the study.

“We look at this drug as augmenting the body’s natural, intrinsically beneficial response” to circulatory disorders, whether caused by high blood pressure, stiff arteries or other problems, says study coauthor Martin Lefkowitz, a nephrologist at Novartis Pharmaceuticals in East Hanover, N.J.