UPDATE 2-AstraZeneca cuts Brilinta sales hopes on artery disease failure

Tue Oct 4, 2016 4:02am EDT
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* Brilinta fails to show benefit over clopidogrel in PAD

* Follows failure of heart drug in stroke trial in March

* Executive says $3.5 bln drug sales target not attainable

* Drugmaker sells rights to Toprol-XL for up to $223 mln (Adds executive interview, latest shares)

By Ben Hirschler

LONDON, Oct 4 (Reuters) - AstraZeneca's heart drug Brilinta has failed to help patients with serious circulatory problems in their legs, prompting the company to scrap a $3.5 billion-a-year sales target for the medicine by 2023.

AstraZeneca said on Tuesday Brilinta did not show a benefit over older blood thinner clopidogrel in treating peripheral artery disease (PAD) in a large-scale clinical trial. PAD usually affects the legs.

Clopidogrel is the generic name of Sanofi's former blockbuster drug Plavix, which is now off patent.

The setback follows similar disappointing results in March with the same AstraZeneca pill in another big trial in stroke patients. Both studies were designed to open up new markets for Brilinta beyond its current use in heart attack patients.   Continued...