Merck & Co’s CETP inhibitor anacetrapib has hit its key target in the late-stage REVEAL study, showing a significant reduction in major coronary events in at-risk patients already on a cholesterol-lowering regimen.

The 30,000 patient trial revealed a lower incidence of the composite endpoint of coronary death, myocardial infarction, and coronary revascularisation compared to placebo in patients at risk for cardiac events.

Further details weren’t released at this time, but the firm did say that the safety profile of anacetrapib in the early analysis “was generally consistent with that demonstrated in previous studies of the drug”, including its accumulation in adipose tissue as previously reported.

The company, which is known as MSD outside of the US and Canada, is now considering whether to file new drug applications with global regulatory agencies, and said it would present full data from the study at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) meeting in August.

Anacetrapib works by inhibiting a protein called cholesterol ester transfer protein (CETP), which is designed to lift HDL - or good - cholesterol. However, the class of drugs has been hit with a series of high-profile failures because of safety issues and mediocre efficacy.