Almost unknown to the public: It was Daiichi Sankyo that discovered the world's first statin, mevastatin, in 1973. Today, statins are taken by millions of patients around the world because they are the most potent cholesterol-lowering agents available. High cholesterol can lead to many cardiovascular diseases including heart attack and stroke.
Although mevastatin is not used in medical therapy, it is often used as a starting compound to manufacture other statins such as pravastatin, an active ingredient also developed by Daiichi Sankyo.
The clinical studies conducted with pravastatin, including WOSCOPS (West of Scotland Coronary Prevention Study) with more than 6,500 patients and CARE (Cholesterol and Recurrent Events Trial) with more than 4,000 patients completed in 1995 and 1996 respectively, are some of the first elements of evidence-based medicine in which new molecules have been studied within large patient groups.
With these studies, Daiichi Sankyo became the first company to prove the efficacy of statins not only for therapy, but also for the prevention of cardiovascular disease.