Catabasis Pharmaceuticals is starting a mid-stage trial of a drug to treat a specific type of high cholesterol. The drug, known as CAT-2003, showed promising stage 1 results in patients with high levels of triglycerides in the blood, a condition known as hypertriglyceridemia. Severely high triglycerides put patients at increased risk for cardiovascular disease and pancreatitis.
Catabasis is conducting two different trials on CAT-2003. The first is a random, double-blind trial on 72 patients with moderate hypertriglyceridemia, during which patients will receive either CAT-2003 or a placebo for four weeks. The second trial involves 24 patients with hypertriglyceridemia who are also taking statin medications.
For four weeks, half of the group will be given CAT-2003 and the other half a placebo. Results are expected by the end of the year.
Currently, typical treatment for high cholesterol includes following a healthy diet and taking cholesterol-lowering statins, such as the widely prescribed Lipitor.
Once thought of as a miracle drug, the safety of statins has raised concerns in recent years. The drugs have been associated with severe muscle injury and liver problems. Most recently, statins have been associated with an increase in blood sugar, which can put users at risk for type 2 diabetes. Postmenopausal women who are not overweight are at greatest risk for developing the disease.