What happened

Shares of The Medicines Company (MDCO) jumped 13.8% on Monday after the biotech announced that Orion-11, a clinical trial testing inclisiran in patients with high levels of LDL cholesterol, was successful.

Interestingly, shares of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (ALNY -0.20%), which discovered the drug before licensing it to The Medicines Company, ended today up only 0.4%. Alnylam is entitled to milestone payments and royalties of up to 20% on sales of inclisiran.

So what

The Medicines Company didn't actually release the data from the study; investors will have to wait until it's presented at the European Society of Cardiology's ESC Congress 2019 next Monday.

But the company did say that the study was positive, noting that it met all primary and secondary endpoints. Equally important, it said, the "safety profile was at least as favorable as that demonstrated in the Orion-1 phase 2 and Orion-3 open label extension studies."

Blood vials on a diagnostic test order form

Image source: Getty Images.

Inclisiran targets proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9), a protein responsible for lowering the amount of the receptors that are responsible for taking LDL cholesterol out of the bloodstream. By reducing PCSK9, more receptors are present and LDL cholesterol goes down.

Amgen as well as Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals already market antibodies that target the PCSK9 protein -- Repatha and Praluent, respectively -- but inclisiran works differently by attacking the RNA that eventually goes on to make the PCSK9 protein. One of the distinct advantages to that approach is that the drug only has to be dosed twice a year.

Now what

While passing the clinical trial is certainly positive, the devil is often in the details. Investors shouldn't neglect checking in on the data that will be released next Monday.

Assuming the efficacy and safety check out, Alnylam might be a better way to play inclisiran than The Medicines Company since Alnylam has a stocked pipeline of additional drugs attacking RNAs involved in various diseases.