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Isis heart drug leads to big reduction in blood fat

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - An experimental drug from Isis Pharmaceuticals produced a sharp reduction in levels of triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood that increases the risk of heart disease, a small mid-stage trial showed.

Codenamed ISIS-APOCIIIRx, the drug is attracting increased attention from investors who believe it could be a big money spinner for the U.S. biotech company. It is designed for patients with very high to severely high triglyceride levels.

When tested as a monotherapy in the Phase II study, the drug resulted in a reduction of up to 75 percent in triglycerides and up to 79 percent in apolipoprotein C-III, another substance that prevents triglycerides being cleared from the blood.

In addition, patients had mean increases of up to 57 percent in high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good", cholesterol, Dr. Daniel Gaude of the University of Montreal told the European Society of Cardiology annual meeting.

The findings were based on an interim analysis of 28 patients who completed 13 weeks of treatment with ISIS-APOCIIIRx or placebo.

ISIS-APOCIIIRx was developed using the Isis's antisense technology, which works by inhibiting a cell's production of disease-causing protein.

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; editing by Keiron Henderson)

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