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AZ begins comparing Crestor and Lipitor in atherosclerosis

AZ launches a new clinical trial designed to measure the impact of Crestor and Lipitor on the progression of atherosclerosis in high-risk patients

AstraZeneca (AZ) has launched a new clinical trial designed to measure the impact of Crestor (rosuvastatin) 40 mg and Lipitor (atorvastatin) 80 mg on the progression of atherosclerosis in high-risk patients.

SATURN will compare the effects of these two statins on the ability to decrease progression or induce regression of atherosclerosis, the main cause of cardiovascular disease, following two years of treatment in patients with coronary artery disease.

SATURN, (Study of Coronary Atheroma by InTravascular Ultrasound: Effect of Rosuvastatin Versus AtorvastatiN), is a 104-week, parallel-group, multicentre, double-blind, phase IIIb intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) imaging study of approximately 1,300 patients at 170 global centres.

The first patient will be enrolled later this month and the study is expected to complete in 2011. SATURN is part of AZ's GALAXY clinical trials programme, designed to address important unanswered questions in statin research and to investigate the impact of rosuvastatin on control of lipids, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

Currently, more than 63,000 patients have been recruited from 55 countries worldwide to participate in the GALAXY Programme.

AZ secured US approval to market its cholesterol-lowering drug Crestor to treat atherosclerosis in November 2007. The new indication gives Crestor an important differentiator from competitors in the cholesterol-lowering marketplace.

15th January 2008

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