The search for an effective new drug
Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is the single largest cause of death in the UK and other developed countries. In half of victims, death is the first symptom.
The lethal event is ventricular fibrillation (VF), a cardiac arrhythmia. The last time an antiarrhythmic drug was trialled for SCD was in the early 1990s. Two large clinical trials (CAST and SWORD) of antiarrhythmic drugs were disastrous, with the drug doubling death rate. Since then the sector has been risk averse and no new drugs for SCD have emerged.
There is confusion in the sector due to a lack of viable innovative concepts and linked proof-of-principle studies.
VF is highly unpredictable given that it is the first symptom of disease in half the victims (more than 70,000 people per annum in the UK) and therefore conceptually, if any effective new drug were to be developed, it would need to be used as pre-treatment and be extraordinarily safe.
There is a lack of viable innovative concepts and linked proof-of-principle studies