Where Are the New Therapies for Heart Disease?

Authors call for expedited research

Despite dramatic reductions in the death rate from cardiovascular disease, it remains the leading cause of death, and experts have expressed concern that the number of new therapies coming to market has lagged. A new study from Bentley University and the Tufts University School of Medicine has tracked the progress of developing new therapies, from basic science on mechanisms of cardiovascular disease through the development of new drugs based on this science. The results suggest that the extensive delay in the emergence of new drugs reflects the long timelines for the growth of basic research on cardiovascular disease, and that strategies for accelerating new cures should focus on optimizing the growth of biomedical research and better synchronizing drug development with this growth.

The article, published Clinical Therapeutics, tracked the development of 168 drugs currently approved for cardiovascular disease and 178 candidate drugs currently in development along with the maturation of the basic research underlying these products. The results showed that the median time from the initiation of research on new drug targets to first approval of a drug based on this research was longer than 40 years, with the time required for maturation of this research contributing the most to the delay in the emergence of new products.

“Our analysis shows that there are promising new therapies for cardiovascular disease in the pipeline, but that these therapies only begin to emerge when the underlying science is mature,” said lead author Dr. Jennifer Beierlein. “The best way to speed drug development is to gain a better understanding of how basic research proceeds and how to accelerate this progress.”

Co-author Dr. Kenneth Kaitin added: “We have made a lot of progress in reducing regulatory review times and creating expedited paths to bring critical therapeutics to market more quickly. By looking more holistically at the innovation pathway, this research tells us what we need to do next to accelerate development even further.”

The new study highlights the critical importance of continued support for the basic research required to discover and develop the next generation of drugs for cardiovascular disease. The authors also point to the risk of initiating drug development without a sufficiently established basis of scientific research.

Source: EurekAlert; June 23, 2017.