One out of every four deaths is attributed to heart disease in the United States each year. Heart disease is considered the leading cause of death among both men and women in the U.S. Swiss drug manufacturer Novartis has developed an experimental heart failure medication that has the potential to significantly reduce the number of deaths and hospitalizations caused by cardiovascular disease.

The new drug that Novartis has dubbed LCZ696 for the time being was recently tested on 8,442 heart failure patients as part of the company’s PARADIGM-HF study. Patients either received LCZ696 or the ACE inhibitor enalapril on top of current treatment options. Patients who received LCZ696 were able to reduce their risk of cardiovascular death by 21 percent and hospitalization due to heart failure by 16 percent compared to those who received enalapril.

“By demonstrating a very significant reduction in cardiovascular deaths while improving Quality of Life, Novartis’ new heart failure medicine, LCZ696, represents one of the most important cardiology advances of the last decade,” David Epstein, division head of Novartis Pharmaceuticals said in a statement. “We want to thank leading cardiologists from around the world for their collaboration with us and their determination in advancing this important new life saving therapy for heart failure patients.”

According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular disease is a major public health concern all over the world. In fact, around 80 percent of all deaths caused by heart disease occur in low- and middle-income countries. Heart failure costs the global economy $108 billion each year and hospitalizations are responsible for between 60 and 70 percent of treatment costs. If appropriate steps are not taken to reduce the impact of heart failure, the WHO estimates that by 2030 23.3 million people will die each year as the result of cardiovascular disease.