In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Christopher Cannon of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said evacetrapib is one of several promising HDL-raising options currently being tested.
"Further interventions await data from the large randomized trials of current therapies (e.g., niacin) and emerging therapies like the CETP inhibitors, including dalcetrapib, anacetrapib, and, likely, evacetrapib. As such, the quest for the holy grail in coronary disease has many worthy knights on the trail," he wrote.
If evacetrapib proves in future long-term studies to be safe and effective, it could provide a therapeutic option for a subgroup of patients that are difficult to treat.
"The best case scenario for this drug is the patient who has a lipid disorder and is being managed with a statin, but still has a low HDL that won't come up despite interventions to raise HDL, like exercise, and doctors are still concerned about cardiovascular risk," said Patterson.
"As good as stains have been, there are still a lot of people that have clinical events, like a heart attack," said Nicholls. "Statins aren't going to be enough for many people."