CHARLOTTE, NC - Heart disease is the number one killer in the U.S., but - right now - hundreds of medicines are in the works to treat or prevent it.
A group that speaks for the drug industry, PhRMA, says about 200 medicines are in the pipeline.
Seven companies with North Carolina ties are working on ten of those drugs. GlaxoSmithKline (RTP), Kowa Research Institute (Morrisville), and Tenax Therapeutics (Morrisville) are each working on two of the meds. AegisCN (Raleigh), Aldagen (Durham), Chiese USA (Cary), and Liquidia Technologies (Morrisville) are each working on one.
Some of the drugs don't even have real names yet. They just have code names like GSK2586881 and Liq861.
"That means a tremendous investment in the local communities. So, it's about building research facilities, building plants, and that means there's jobs that are coming to the area," PhRMA Dr. Mike Ybarra said.
GlaxoSmithKline said, "This kind of biomedical research benefits North Carolinians because it supports quality healthcare, good jobs and strong educational opportunities." It says it's donated millions of dollars and has hundreds of business relationships in the state.
Heart disease is responsible for more than 800,000 deaths each year. If you rank states by death, 1st being the worst, South Carolina ranks 6th for stroke and 17th for heart disease. North Carolina ranks 8th for stroke and 28th for heart disease.
"I think it's phenomenal that we have that kind of capability here," Bob Mack said. Mack's had multiple heart attacks. His first was in the '90s. He has 10 stents and takes about four meds for his heart each day. "But it's scary. It is scary," he said.
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