Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Concerns About Glaxo Drug Avandia and PPAR Drugs

Article in the Wall Street Journal -- Avandia Concerns Reopen a Wider Debate, by Anna Wilde Mathews and Jeanne Whalen.  Here's an excerpt:

The assertion that GlaxoSmithKline PLC's widely used diabetes drug Avandia is tied to a risk of heart attacks will reopen debate over a potentially valuable, but problem-plagued, type of drugs.

Avandia and the competing diabetes medication Actos, made by Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., are known as PPAR drugs. They work by affecting receptors in a cell's nucleus that can affect a broad range of human genes. (PPAR represents the name of the receptors, which are called peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors.)

The upshot can be valuable treatment benefits for serious conditions such as diabetes but also an enormous range of sometimes unpredictable side effects that have sidelined many treatments before they reached the market. Among the companies still working on possible new PPAR drugs are Glaxo, AstraZeneca PLC and closely held Metabolex Inc., which has partnered with Johnson & Johnson.

"It is a challenging class of drugs," said Robert Meyer, who heads the Food and Drug Administration office that oversees diabetes medications. "These are drugs with many effects and many targets" in the body.


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