Novartis AG (NVS) and the U.K. National Health Service will partner on a trial of the Basel pharma giant's cholesterol-lowering drug candidate inclisiran, with as many as 40,000 potential patients.
The NHS will recommend patients with high low-density lipoprotein cholesterol for the trial of the drug, which is injected twice a year.
Novartis will provide the drug free in exchange for the results of the five-year trial, which NHS staff will run.
Those at risk of heart attack and stroke will be able to receive the drug through the trial program.
Novartis received the rights to inclisiran a week ago, when it closed the purchase of Medicines Co. for nearly $10 billion.
If the U.K. regulators clear the drug, which Reuters reported is expected, the NHS will then pay for it as an add-on therapy for patients with high cholesterol, per the terms of the deal.
The NHS estimates that as many as 30,000 lives could be saved over the next 10 years if the drug performs as well as expected. If 300,000 people receive treatment annually, the drug could prevent 55,00 heart attacks and strokes.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that he was “determined to find ways to save as many lives as possible, and to do my best to stop terrible conditions like heart disease from taking people from their family and friends far too soon,” the Guardian reported.
Novartis shares at last check were down 0.3% to $93.54.