Crestor gets FDA nod for atherosclerosis

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LONDON Astra Zeneca’s Crestor, used to break down artery-blocking fat deposits that cause strokes and heart attacks, is the first cholesterol medication to win Food and Drug Administration clearance to be marketed as effective against atherosclerosis, London-based AstraZeneca has said.

Atherosclerosis is a progressive disease and the main cause of heart disease, the world’s biggest killer. The medicine was approved as a therapy to slow the progression of the disease, FDA spokesman Christopher Kelly told Bloomberg News.

AstraZeneca, which bought the rights to Crestor from Japan’s Shionogi & Co., received $691 million from the pill in the third quarter, up 29 percent from a year earlier. The company expects sales to increase following the FDA approval for the new use.

AstraZeneca is the U.K.’s second largest drugmaker after GlaxoSmithKline Plc.

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