PARIS and TARRYTOWN, New York, March 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

- New Data Presented at American College of Cardiology Meeting Demonstrate Reductions of 40% to 72% in LDL-Cholesterol in Patients on Statins -

Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced that data from two Phase 2 trials with SAR236553/REGN727, an investigational, high-affinity, subcutaneously administered, fully-human antibody targeting PCSK9 (proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9), were presented at the American College of Cardiology's (ACC) 61st Annual Scientific Meeting in Chicago.

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The data showed that treatment with SAR236553/REGN727 over 8 to 12 weeks significantly reduced mean low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C, or "bad" cholesterol) by 40% to 72% in patients with elevated LDL-C on stable dose of statins.(1),(2)

"Many patients are not able to lower their LDL-C sufficiently by diet and medication despite the availability of statins. As guidelines are evolving, there is a real need for additional lipid-lowering medications," said Dr. James McKenney, President and CEO of National Clinical Research, Inc., Professor Emeritus of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy, USA, and Principal Investigator of the study. "These trial results suggest that SAR236553/REGN727 may enable patients for whom statins are insufficient to further reduce LDL-C."

Presented today in a late-breaking clinical trials session at the ACC meeting, "Study DFI11565," the Phase 2 dose-finding clinical trial enrolled 183 patients with elevated LDL-C (greater than or equal to 100 mg/dL) despite being on a stable dose of atorvastatin. The objective of the study was to evaluate the effect of adding SAR236553/REGN727 to existing statin therapy. Across the five different dose regimens tested, patients receiving SAR236553/REGN727 for 12 weeks achieved and sustained a mean LDL-C reduction from baseline of 40% to 72%, compared to 5% in patients receiving placebo (p<0.0001). Patients in the study were followed for a total of 20 weeks for safety.

The most common adverse events (AEs) with SAR236553/REGN727 were injection site reactions. Serious AEs occurred in one patient receiving placebo and three patients in the active treatment arms, including a patient on active treatment who experienced a skin rash diagnosed as leukocytoclastic vasculitis. Six patients, all on active treatment, prematurely discontinued therapy due to AEs. Muscle complaints were infrequent and similar across all treatment groups. There were no significant elevations in liver enzymes or other lab values in patients on active treatment.

"So far, SAR236553/REGN727 has demonstrated LDL-lowering efficacy and a generally acceptable safety profile," said George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron and President of Regeneron Research Laboratories. "PCSK9 inhibition is being investigated for its potential to lower LDL-C in patients who cannot achieve their goals with standard therapies."

The PCSK9 mechanism is an example of how the study of genetics can identify new targets for developing new therapies.(3),(4) The role of PCSK9 in lipid metabolism was discovered a few years ago based on population studies.(5)

"Genetic data have shown that patients with natural loss-of-function mutations in PCSK9 have significantly lower LDL-C and a lower risk of coronary heart disease," said Dr. Elias Zerhouni, President, Global Research & Development, Sanofi. "Based on this finding and the results of our Phase 2 trials, Sanofi and Regeneron plan to initiate the SAR236553/REGN727 Phase 3 program in the second quarter."

Data from a separate trial, "Study DFI11566," were presented yesterday during an oral session of the ACC meeting. The study enrolled patients with primary hypercholesterolemia with elevated LDL-C (greater than or equal to 100 mg/dL) who were on a stable low dose of atorvastatin (10 mg). The primary objective of the study was to compare the effect on LDL-C lowering of switching to a high dose of atorvastatin alone (80 mg) versus a high dose of atorvastatin combined with SAR236553/REGN727. Patients who received SAR236553/REGN727 plus atorvastatin 80 mg achieved a mean reduction of 73% in LDL-C, compared to a mean reduction of 17% for patients who switched to atorvastatin 80 mg alone (p<0.001) after eight weeks. The study also included a third arm in which SAR236553/REGN727 was added to the stable low dose of atorvastatin. Patients in this arm achieved a 66% reduction in mean LDL-C. Patients in the study were followed for a total of 16 weeks for safety.

In this trial, the most common AE with SAR236553/REGN727 was infection. There was one serious AE in the SAR236553/REGN727 plus atorvastatin 80 mg group (dehydration) that was deemed not to be treatment-related.

A long-term safety and tolerability study of SAR236553/REGN727 (NCT01507831) is ongoing in patients with hypercholesterolemia who are not adequately controlled with their current lipid-modifying therapy.(6) Sanofi and Regeneron are intending to initiate Phase 3 clinical studies for SAR236553/REGN727 in Q2 2012.

Sanofi and Regeneron are co-developing SAR236553/REGN727 as part of their research and development collaboration agreements.