SAN FRANCISCO — George Yancopoulos, Regeneron Pharma’s top scientist, is still a bit bitter about the commercial flop of its cholesterol-lowering PCSK9 inhibitor Praluent. At an event on the sidelines of J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference on Tuesday, he also threw a tiny bit of shade at Novartis, which believes it can do better with a longer-acting PCSK9 inhibitor it acquired through the $10 billion buyout of The Medicines Company.
Speaking at an event organized by Medicxi Partners, Yancopoulos touted Regeneron’s ability to develop drugs at a rate much higher than the industry average, but “a drug like Praluent should have been available to tens of millions of people.”
It wasn’t. Insurers restricted patient access to Praluent, citing its high cost. Regeneron and its partner Sanofi then lowered Praluent’s price but sales have still disappointed. Amgen’s competing PCSK9 inhibitor Repatha has performed better, but not by much.