Isis Pharmaceuticals is "very encouraged" by a second set of mid-stage data for its heart drug APOIIIRx, which shows that it can substantially slash levels of dangerous fats in the blood. 

In a 26-patient Phase II trial, patients with severely high levels of triglycerides taking Isis' drug alongside fibrates experienced 64% drop in triglycerides, and a 70% drop in apolipoprotein C-III (apoC-III), a component of 'bad' low-density lipoprotein.

The findings are particularly pertinent given that high levels of triglycerides put patients at significant risk for serious conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and pancreatitis. 

Crucially, levels of the 'good' high density lipoprotein cholesterol, which is believed to have a protective effect on the heart and cardiovascular system, also leapt 52% in patients taking Isis' experimental drug, and no safety issues were raised.

APOIIIRx uses Isis’ antisense technology - which inhibits a cell's production of disease-causing proteins - to target apoC-III, a gene produced in the liver that plays a central role in the regulation of serum triglycerides. 

The data comes hot on the heels of that released last month, showing that the drug cut levels of apoC-III by 88% and triglycerides by 77% in patients with high levels of triglycerides and diabetes.