Myocardial infarction and heart failure

Acute myocardial infarction (MI), or acute heart attack, affects approximately 7 million people each year globally (J Am Coll Cardiol. 2017 Jul 4; 70 (1): 1–25) and is a major cause of death and disability worldwide. 1-2 % of the adult population, 64 million people worldwide, suffer from Heart Failure (HF) of whom 40-50% have a history of myocardial infarction.

MI is caused by blockage of one or more of the coronary arteries which supply the heart with oxygenated blood. If they are blocked by e.g a clot the heart tissue will become oxygen starved (ischemic), killing heart tissue and causing a heart attack. Ischemic heart disease accounts for 20% of all deaths in the EU and Heart Failure is the leading cause of hospitalization in adults over 65 years. Total infarct size is a key indicator for post-MI outcomes. The treatment of choice for limiting the infarct size is prompt restoration of blood flow to the ischemic myocardium. Myocardial reperfusion may be achieved using Percutanous Coronary Intervention (PCI; “stenting”) or thrombolytic treatment.

After an event of heart attack, patients are treated with different cardiovascular drugs to prevent development of heart failure. Despite this, one in four patients develop heart failure. Current treatment for MI and heart failure is standardised and will typically include options in antiplatelet therapy, statins, ACE inhibitors, diuretics and betablockers. There are no approved pharmaceutical treatments to date for preventing the heart from additional stress and tissue infarction during restoration of blood flow by PCI. Serca Pharmaceutical’s lead candidate 13-M is in development to address this gap in the current portfolio of treatment options and may serve as next generation treatment in MI management and heart failure.