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The Associated Press March 26, 2012, 5:06PM ET

Regeneron and Sanofi say drug reduced cholesterol

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and French drugmaker Sanofi said Monday that an experimental drug significantly reduced "bad" cholesterol levels in two midstage clinical trials.

The companies said treatment with their drug, called REGN727, reduced levels of LDL, or "bad," cholesterol by 40 to 72 percent over eight to 12 weeks.

The patients all had high levels of LDL cholesterol and were also taking stable doses of Lipitor. The companies said patients who took Lipitor and a placebo had a 5 percent reduction in bad cholesterol.

In a separate study, the companies reported a 73 percent drop in bad cholesterol for patients on REGN727 and a larger dose of Lipitor. Patients who took only the 80-milligram dose of Lipitor had a 17 percent reduction, and patients on REGN727 and a smaller 10-milligram dose of Lipitor had a 66 percent reduction in bad cholesterol levels. That study involved patients with high cholesterol

REGN727 is delivered by injection. The companies said the most common side effects in the study were reactions at the injection site.

Six patients who were being treated with REGN727 dropped out of the trial because of side effects. Three of those patients reported serious side effects. One of the patients taking REGN727 suffered a condition called leukocytoclastic vasculitis, or inflammation of small blood vessels. One patient in the placebo group left the trial because of serious side effects.

The most common side effect in the second study was infection.

Regeneron is based in Tarrytown, N.Y. It markets Eylea, a treatment for "wet" age-related macular degeneration, which can cause blindness, and a group of rare, inherited auto-inflammatory conditions called CAPS.

Shares of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals rose 78 cents to $119.96 on Monday, and Sanofi shares added 51 cents to $38.82.

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