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Detailed data from a successful heart disease study show a therapy developed by Alnylam Pharmaceuticals performed significantly better than placebo, but the magnitude of its benefit will stir debate among cardiologists and investors on what could be a blockbuster medicine.

In results from a yearlong study presented Thursday, Alnylam’s intravenous drug helped patients with ATTR-CM, a progressive heart disease, walk about 14.7 meters more over the course of six minutes compared to those who got placebo. The so-called six-minute walk test is an accepted metric in cardiovascular medicine, one that correlates with whether a given treatment can prevent hospitalization and death in the long term.


After 12 months, patients treated with the drug could walk about 8 meters fewer at the median, while patients on placebo walked 21 fewer meters. Using the study’s statistical method for comparing medians, that works out to a roughly 14.7-meter difference in favor of the drug, according to Alnylam.

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