Hearts & Minds Blog
Delivering on the “Long Game”December 21, 2017
I was recently approached by STAT to answer, “How do you balance your long-term goals for your company with the short-term demands of investors?” My immediate thought seemed obvious: you can’t! In LDL-cholesterol lowering research and development, in particular, there is no way to balance our long-term timelines with the short-term orientation of many investors – and at Esperion, we don’t try to.
Let me explain: clinical development programs for chronic LDL-cholesterol lowering drugs require time; long-term clinical studies of regulatory-submission quality are double-blind with year-long endpoints; as a result, we can’t provide regular quarterly updates about treatment successes. Our patients are chronically ill – in almost all cases not acutely so as in other therapeutic areas. We are developing therapies for chronic diseases – hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis. Our program follows the regulatory-mandated model of sequential Phase 1, 2 and 3 drug development, with the Phase 3 program in particular requiring at least 52-week long-term safety studies in thousands of patients.
More than almost any other company developing new drugs, we live the challenge of trying to balance the short-term demands of investors with the long-term-oriented nature of our drug development program. So, we focus on fostering relationships with quality investors with a long-term orientation – not traders – and we’ve prioritized attracting investors who are keen on the long-term potential of our convenient, once-daily, oral bempedoic acid-based therapies that complement existing standard-of-care oral therapies in a therapeutic area where oral drugs have historically achieved blockbuster status.
Since Esperion became a public company in June 2013, a key message to investors is that we’re playing the “long game;” we’re developing our drugs the way they would be developed if we were operating in a very large pharmaceutical company; and our programs and clinical trials will be long, with no interim looks at blinded clinical data. We have set clear milestones as goalposts for our clinical development progress and ultimately maintain a realistic view of the process of our drug development: there are no shortcuts.
We are now on the cusp of the most eventful and transformative period in the history of Esperion; we will be announcing top-line results from our five pivotal Phase 3 studies of bempedoic acid and the bempedoic acid / ezetimibe combination pill throughout 2018. After four years as a public company, we are poised to realize the rewards from sticking to our “long-game” plan.
You can read the full STAT column here.