Arena Initiates Clinical Trial Of Second Generation Niacin Receptor
Merck initiated a Phase 1 clinical trial of a second generation oral niacin receptor agonist under a collaboration between the companies to discover drugs for the treatment of atherosclerosis and other disorders. The initiation of this trial does not trigger a milestone payment.
"We are very pleased with the progress of this collaboration investigating the therapeutic potential of niacin receptor agonists to treat atherosclerosis and other disorders. We are looking forward to the Phase 1 results and the continued progress of the program," said Jack Lief, Arena's President and Chief Executive Officer.
Arena also announced that preclinical investigation of MK-0354, a first generation niacin receptor agonist being evaluated for indications other than atherosclerosis, was discontinued for compound specific reasons.
Atherosclerosis is characterized by the collection of fatty material deposits, such as cholesterol, along artery walls. This fatty material thickens, hardens, and may eventually block the arteries, adversely affecting blood flow and increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke over time. The American Heart Association estimates that atherosclerosis accounts for nearly 75% of all deaths from cardiovascular disease.
HDL cholesterol, commonly known as the "good" cholesterol, can help clear the fatty deposits from the walls of blood vessels and transport cholesterol to the liver for processing and removal from the body. Drugs that can influence the levels of HDL cholesterol, or "good" cholesterol, may potentially provide clinical benefits to patients by reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. The niacin receptor, a G protein-coupled receptor, or GPCR, is believed to have potential in regulating plasma lipid profiles, including HDL.