Roche announced last Monday that it is stopping all trials of dalcetrapib in coronary heart disease due to “lack of clinically meaningful benefit,” reported by the Data Safety and Monitoring Board. Dalcetrapib is a CETP inhibitor which increases HDL (good cholesterol), and showed promise in two phase II trials that it might decrease cardiovascular events. At the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress just this past October there were several talks which mentioned dalcetrapib’s potential.
Pfizer’s CETP inhibitor torcetrapib failed in 2006 due to safety issues. What does dalcetrapib’s failure mean for the future of CETP inhibitors? Merck’s ancetrapib and Eli Lilly’s evacetrapib both may yet demonstrate benefit. These agents cause a 3-4 fold greater increase in HDL than dalcetrapib, and ancetrapib not only raises HDL, but also lowers LDL. Despite dalcetrapib’s failure we have not seen the last of CETP inhibitors!