Pharmaceutical Product Development will proceed with testing of a proposed drug to treat cholesterol, saying it could be safer than current, similar drugs, the company said late Tuesday.

PPD describes the candidate as a “novel statin.” Statins are a class of drug used to treat cholesterol in an attempt to combat heart disease and hardening of the arteries.

The PPD candidate targets dyslipidemia, which affects cholesterol levels and contributes to the development of atherosclerosis.

The Phase I trial included healthy subjects, and the drug proved to be “safe and well tolerated” at all dosages,  according to PPD.

"We are extremely pleased that our statin is advancing in human clinical studies in aggressive development time," said Fred Eshelman, PPD’s chief executive officer. "We have commenced a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, first-in-patient clinical trial in high-cholesterol patients and then plan to proceed into a Phase II proof-of-concept study."