Patients with high cholesterol are close to having a new class of drugs to help lower their cholesterol levels. So called PCSK9 inhibitors work in a completely different way than statins, the most popular class of cholesterol-lowering drugs, allowing them to be used in conjunction with the current standard of care in patients that haven't gotten to their cholesterol goal.

Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) is in the lead with evolocumab, but Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:REGN) and Sanofi (NASDAQ:SNY), which are jointly developing alirocumab, aren't too far behind. Beyond those two, quite a few drugmakers -- Roche, Pfizer, Novartis, and others -- are taking their own shot at developing PCSK9 inhibitors.

In the video that follows, Max Macaluso, the Fool's health-care bureau chief, and Fool contributor Brian Orelli discuss why the class of PCSK9 inhibitors is worth keeping an eye on and potential pitfalls the companies may face.