Statins: From Fungus to Pharma
The curiosity of biochemists, mixed with some obvious economic incentives, created a family of powerful cardiovascular drugs
In 1966, Akira Endo, a young Japanese biochemist, started an adventure that would ultimately save thousands, if not millions, of lives. Endo's two interests—fungi and cholesterol—merged and spurred the discovery and development of a group of cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins. The number of deaths from cardiovascular diseases has decreased by about 25 percent in the United States since 1994, not because of a radical change in lifestyle—although this is happening—but because of the ready availability of cardioprotective drugs. Not coincidentally, the business battle to develop the most-effective statin has led to the world's top-selling pharmaceutical.
Go to Article