Last Updated Jul 17, 2009 6:45 PM EDT
If Zetia received the superior result, then this would be a surprise, Leerink says. The prior data favors Niaspan, they believe. A pro-Niaspan result would have limited commercial reverberations -- because so few people were enrolled in the study -- unless they are published in a really big journal, Leerink says.
This factor reminds us of the flap over Sanofi-Aventis' Lantus, in which BNET suggested that relatively few experts hold vast sway over the commercial fate of some drugs. Indeed, Leerink ended its note on that refrain:
... significant headline risk exists if a negative result for Zetia is picked up by mainstream media & championed by Nissen. The likelihood that Zetia outperformed Niaspan strikes us as low, but this would be a major surprise relative to expectations. Even Steve Nissen, Zetia's most vocal critic, stated to the media that a positive outcome for Zetia would convince him that Zetia is an effective treatment for atherosclerosis.