No More Siloes: Linking Rheumatology and CVD

Wednesday January 8, 2020

Article written by Allie Nawrat for Pharmaceutical Technology.

Although there are evidence-based links between CVD and inflammatory conditions, and associated strong risk factors, they are often ignored when treating patients with either type of condition. Abcentra former CEO and current senior advisor Bert Liang wants to break through the physician and treatment siloes and develop a drug that treats the inflammatory cause of certain CVD conditions.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) includes any conditions that affect the heart or blood vessels. Treatment of this condition has largely been controlled by cardiologists, despite evidence suggesting that there are co-morbidities and cross-overs between CVD and inflammatory conditions. Targeting the inflammatory basis of the condition, rather than dealing with CVD symptoms, could be an effective, safe option for treating patients holistically.

US-based pharma company Abcentra wants to change this siloed approach to the benefit of patients. Former CEO and current senior advisor Bert Liang explains the company wants to create new therapies that target specific mechanisms of inflammation, making them stand out from broad, side effect-inducing biologics, for certain cardiovascular disorders, including accelerated atherosclerosis and aortic valve stenosis.

Accelerated atherosclerosis increases the risk of cardiovascular incident. Credit: Patho via Wikimedia

The company’s primary target is inflammatory mediator oxidised low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL) and its lead candidate is orticumab, the first fully human monoclonal antibody that targets this lipid.

Allie Nawrat: How is the current approach to treating CVD inadequate?

Bert Liang: One of the biggest challenges that we face with cardiovascular disease is the bleed over; what happens when you overlap with another therapeutic area? When you’re talking about diabetes, there’s a lot of integration between endocrinology and cardiology, but this does not happen with rheumatology and cardiology; people stay in their lane so to speak, and don’t look at the patient that is in front them.