Betting on the Atlantic Coast Conference wasn't a good move to help you win your NCAA tournament pool. Only one of the five teams from the ACC made it as far as the Sweet 16.
On the other hand, the other ACC -- the American College of Cardiology -- can make you some serious dough. The heart meeting wrapped up this week. Here are some products to keep your eyes on.
Lower cholesterol but...
The only problem I see is that the drug has to be injected. Fortunately, it's only an every-two-weeks administration, but that's still not as easy as popping a pill daily.
If it makes it to market, REGN727 might have competition as well. Amgen is developing a drug called AMG 145 that goes after the same target, the protein PCSK9. And Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
The never-ending battle
The battle of the next-generation blood thinners has been going on at ACC for years. And it doesn't seem to be stopping now that Boehringer Ingelheim's Pradaxa and Xarelto from Bayer and Johnson & Johnson are on the market in the U.S., and Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb's
Johnson & Johnson, for instance, presented data on the use of Xarelto in treating blood clots in the lungs. The drug was as effective as heparin and warfarin at treating the clots and preventing new ones. Heparin has to be injected and warfarin is a drug cardiologists love to hate because of its narrow therapeutic window, so being as good as the current standard of care should be good enough.
Eliquis looks to be the winner for treating atrial fibrillation, a type of irregular heartbeat. At ACC, Pfizer and Bristol-Myers presented data from the two phase 3 trials that the FDA is currently reviewing. There were no surprises, which is a good sign since the top-line data looked pretty good.
A meta-analysis of data from trials testing Pradaxa, the older discontinued drug Exanta from AstraZeneca, and warfarin showed that warfarin actually had a lower incidence of heart attacks than the newer medications. But doctors will likely take the meta-analysis with a grain of salt, especially since warfarin can cause internal bleeding at doses that are too high.
Don't forget the devices
Cardiology is probably the biggest area in which medical devices compete alongside drugs to help patients, so investors shouldn't lose track of them even if they're mostly interested in the drug side.
St. Jude Medical
St. Jude stopped selling the devices over a year ago, but there are still thousands of patients that have the device inside them. Given the difficulty in replacing them -- it requires another heart surgery -- doctors might think twice about using St. Jude's newer defibrillators as well.
More than once a year
It's important to keep up with companies developing heart drugs and devices year round, not just after the ACC every March. You can make your life easier by adding them to My Watchlist, the Fool's free watchlist service. Add all the companies in this article (and get a free account if you need one) by clicking here. Or you can add individual companies with the links below.
- Add St. Jude Medical to My Watchlist.
- Add Sanofi to My Watchlist.
- Add Regeneron Pharmaceuticals to My Watchlist.
- Add Pfizer to My Watchlist.
- Add Medtronic to My Watchlist.
- Add Johnson & Johnson to My Watchlist.
- Add Edwards Lifesciences to My Watchlist.
- Add Bristol-Myers Squibb to My Watchlist.
- Add AstraZeneca to My Watchlist.
- Add Amgen to My Watchlist.
- Add Alnylam Pharmaceuticals to My Watchlist.