Studies show blood thinner antidotes work

Interim Phase-III data for Boehringer Ingelheim's experimental anticoagulant antidote idarucizumab indicates that the Breakthrough Therapy drug immediately reversed the impact of the blood thinner Pradaxa.

The drugmaker said in a statement that 90 patients in emergency settings were included in the data and that tests showed normal coagulation levels in around 90% of patients 12 hours after they received the medication. BI said that 18 patients died but said deaths that happened within 96 hours of enrollment were generally associated with the original reason for the emergency admission.

Phase-III data for Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Portola Pharmaceuticals' experimental anticoagulant antidote andexanet alfa also showed promise, as well. The partners presented the results at the Clinical Trial Oral Session at International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis and said in a statement that the study showed the antidote quickly reversed the impact of the blood thinner Eliquis, which is made by Pfizer and BMS.

Blood thinners are considerable assets for each of these companies. Pradaxa was BI's second-highest-performing pharmaceutical last year, after COPD medication Spiriva, with $1.36 billion in sales.

Eliquis is small by comparison, garnering $774 million in sales for BMS last year, but first-quarter sales for this year were more than double those of the first quarter in 2014. BMS's Chief Operating Officer Giovanni Caforio described the blood thinner during this year's first-quarter earnings call as an important asset and as part of a larger cardiovascular strategy.

BI submitted idarucizumab to the FDA in March. Portola expects to submit its antidote to the FDA at the end of this year.