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GlaxoSmithKline heart drug fails in trial

A potential GlaxoSmithKline heart disease treatment acquired in a key company takeover fell short in a big, late-stage study.

The British drug maker said Tuesday that the treatment, darapladib, failed to produce a statistically significant reduction in major cardiovascular events like heart attacks, strokes, or death when added to a patient’s standard of care that could include a cholesterol treatment, aspirin, and blood pressure medications.

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Adult patients with chronic, coronary heart disease were given either darapladib or a fake drug in the trial. More than 15,000 patients enrolled in the international study.

GlaxoSmithKline PLC, or GSK, said it will wait for results from a separate late-stage study before deciding what to do next with the drug. It acquired the experimental treatment when it bought longtime drug development partner Human Genome Sciences for more than $3 billion in 2012.

The deal gave GSK full ownership of darapladib, an experimental diabetes drug, and Human Genome’s only marketed medicine, the lupus treatment Benlysta. Diabetes and heart disease are both core areas for the British drug maker that have been hurt by a revenue drop due in part to generic competition.

WBB Securities president Steve Brozak said the drug developer and others saw huge sales potential in darapladib.

‘‘This clearly did not meet their expectations, and this clearly is not just a blow to Glaxo but a blow to the entire system that fishes for these kinds of blockbuster drugs,’’ the analyst said.

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