© 2015 © Informa UK, Ltd. Introduction: Statins are the mainstay of lipid-lowering therapies targeted at reducing cardiovascular risk. However, they do not completely obviate risk, not all patients tolerate them, and they are not sufficiently effective in patients with very high plasma levels of low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) such as those with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) or patients with elevated plasma levels of lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)]. Recent advances in the understanding of lipoprotein metabolism have led to the development of the proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors including evolocumab, which lowers plasma levels of LDL-C by 50 - 75% as monotherapy or in combination with statin therapy.Areas covered: We discuss in this review the rationale and background behind the development of evolocumab, and its pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics. We then discuss the current state-of-play of relevant clinical trials.Expert opinion: The dramatic reduction in plasma levels of LDL-C attributable to evolocumab is anticipated to translate into lower rates of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, but this hypothesis remains to be proven. Also to be established are the long-term safety and economic benefits of evolocumab. PCSK9 inhibitors will also probably provide a valuable option for patients with statin intolerance, those with FH and patients with elevated plasma levels of Lp(a).