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Cardiovascular diseases


According to the World Health Organization (WHO) cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death worldwide. Cardiovascular diseases are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels.  An estimated 17.7 million people died from cardiovascular diseases in 2015 alone, equating to roughly one -third of all global deaths.1

Of these deaths, around 7,4 million were caused by coronary heart disease and 6,7 million were caused by stroke (also known as cerebrovascular disease).1 Both are often acute events caused by a blockage – commonly a buildup of fatty deposits on the inner walls of blood vessels – that prevents blood from flowing to the heart or brain.1

Eliminating tobacco use, reducing salt intake, consuming fruits and vegetables, engaging in regular physical activity and avoiding harmful use of alcohol have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.1,2 In addition, managing hypertension, diabetes and hyperlipidemia also may be necessary to reduce risk of cardiovascular diseases.


It is well established that an excess of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c), or "bad" cholesterol in the blood is correlated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases3,4. While statins have been shown to reduce LDL-c and are an effective means of reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases in combination with lifestyle changes, many people with hypercholesterolemia continue to suffer from uncontrolled LDL-c5. Among these patients are those with familial hypercholesterolemia, an inherited form of high cholesterol that may lead to aggressive and premature cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes6.


Our cardiovascular research teams are committed to developing groundbreaking treatments for genetic heart diseases that affect the heart muscle, known as cardiomyopathies. These are inheritable diseases that affect the structure and function of the heart. They are caused by mutations in the genes of the proteins responsible for the contraction of the heart muscle.

We have teamed up with Myokardia to bring to market targeted therapies for patients with genetic heart disease, specifically hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), two diseases of cardiac muscle cells. The collaboration is a part of Sanofi’s Sunrise Initiative, a strategic partnership model that seeks to invest in early stage transformative opportunities that align with Sanofi’s expert development and commercialization abilities.


Venous thromboembolism comprises deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) and strikes more than 1 in 1000 adults per year, causing discomfort, suffering, and occasionally death. DVT is defined as blood clots in the pelvic, leg, or major upper-extremity veins. These clots can break off from the veins, travel through the heart, and lodge in the lung arteries, causing potentially deadly PE. This illness is often “silent” and can mimic other common conditions such as heart attack, pneumonia, and anxiety. Its aftermath spans a wide spectrum, from inconsequential to fatal.

Awareness of DVT and PE is the best way to prevent this condition. Without knowledge of DVT as a medical problem, the public could not engage healthcare providers to discuss lifestyle changes and more intensive measures that usually succeed in preventing this illness. Prevention is the best policy to combat DVT and PE, and preventing venous thromboembolism remains more effective than waiting for a DVT to develop, performing complex diagnostic tests, and then treating a newly established blood clot. 


1World Health Organization. Cardiovascular Diseases fact sheet number 17. Updated January 2015 Available from:http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs317/en/ Last accessed 7 March 2016.
2European Society of Cardiology. The 2012 European Guidelines on CVD Prevention in Clinical Practice.  Available from: http://www.escardio.org/Guidelines-&-Education/Clinical-Practice-Guidelines/CVD-Prevention-in-clinical-practice-European-Guidelines-on. Last accessed 7 March 2016.
3Kontush A, Chapman MJ. Functionally defective high-density lipoprotein: a new therapeutic target at the crossroads of dyslipidemia, inflammation, and atherosclerosis. Pharmacol Rev. 2006 Sep;58(3):342-74.
4British Heart Foundation. High Cholesterol. Available from: https://www.bhf.org.uk/hearthealth/riskfactors/highcholesterol.Last accessed 7 July 2015.
5Scirica MB, Cannon CP. Cardiology Patient Page Treatment of Elevated Cholesterol. Circulation AHA. 2005;111: e360-e363.
6FH Foundation. What is FH? (Factsheet).Available from http://thefhfoundation.org/about-fh/what-is-fh/. Last accessed 29 January 2015.