Amarin's direct sales force, consisting of approximately 275 sales professionals, launched Vascepa on January 28, 2013, for use as an adjunct to diet to reduce triglyceride levels in adult patients with severe (≥500 mg/dL) hypertriglyceridemia, the initial indication for Vascepa, or MARINE indication. Amarin reports that, since launch, access to clinicians has been good, and that it has yet to hear any significant negative reaction to the efficacy or safety profile of Vascepa. Amarin's sales professionals are currently targeting the limited group of clinicians who are the highest prescribers of other lipid therapies and seeking, in particular, to increase awareness and knowledge of Vascepa among this group. Amarin believes that Vascepa is well differentiated in this market based on its safety profile, which is comparable to placebo, and on its spectrum of demonstrated lipid benefit at 4 g/day, including statistically significant reductions in TGs, Apo B, VLDL-C, and non-HDL-C, with no increase in LDL-C, also known as bad cholesterol.
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Vascepa additional indication progress
In parallel with marketing Vascepa for the MARINE indication, Amarin is pursuing FDA approval of Vascepa for the ANCHOR indication, a second indication in a significantly larger adult patient population, those with mixed dyslipidemia and TG levels between 200 and 499 mg/dL.
As previously announced, in a clinical trial of the use of Vascepa in the ANCHOR indication, Vascepa demonstrated statistically significant reductions in a broad spectrum of lipid and inflammatory markers, on top of optimized statin therapy, including significant reduction in LDL-C compared to placebo. The FDA has accepted for review Amarin's Supplemental New Drug Application, or sNDA, for the ANCHOR indication and has assigned a PDUFA action date of December 20, 2013 for this sNDA. In addition, the FDA has scheduled a meeting of the Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee (
) to review the ANCHOR application to be held on October 16, 2013. The safety results from the ANCHOR trial are included in the current label for Vascepa.
The ANCHOR study, which evaluated the efficacy of Vascepa in lowering triglycerides on top of optimized statin therapy for adult mixed dyslipidemia patients with high triglyceride levels (≥200 to <500 mg/dL), was conducted under a special protocol assessment, or SPA, agreement with the FDA. An SPA is generally considered to be binding upon the FDA except in limited circumstances, such as if the FDA identifies a substantial scientific issue essential to its determining the efficacy or safety of a drug. Amarin has not been informed by FDA of any such essential issue. Amarin believes that it achieved all of the requirements of the SPA agreement. In particular, in the ANCHOR trial, with Vascepa 4 grams per day, all primary and secondary efficacy endpoints were achieved, including a reduction in LDL-C levels compared to placebo. Amarin is optimistic that the FDA will approve Vascepa for this indication and looks forward to the advisory committee meeting as an opportunity to highlight the positive safety and efficacy profile of Vascepa. If approved, Vascepa will be the first drug in its class to be approved for this multi-billion dollar market opportunity. Approximately one in five adults in the United States have triglyceride levels of ≥200 mg/dL.