FACTBOX-Blood-thinning drugs may face new competition

July 26 (BestGrowthStock) – AstraZeneca Plc (AZN.L: ) is aiming to
enter the multibillion-dollar global market for blood-thinning
drugs with a new medicine called Brilinta. A U.S. advisory
panel reviews data on Brilinta on Wednesday. [ID:nLDE66L1KU]

Blood-thinning medicines are used at various stages of
cardiovascular disease to prevent clots that can cause heart
attacks or strokes.

Here are current approved options and others on the
horizon:

PLAVIX

Plavix now holds the title of the world’s second-best
selling drug with annual revenue topping $9 billion. But sales
of the medicine from Sanofi-Aventis SA (SASY.PA: ) and
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (BMY.N: ) are expected to drop sharply
once generic competition hits the United States in 2012.
Cheaper versions already are sold in Europe.

Brilinta, if approved, would compete directly with Plavix
for preventing deaths, heart attacks and strokes. Both oral
drugs reduce the clumping of blood particles called platelets,
that promote clotting.

Low-cost generic versions of Plavix will pose a challenge
for Brilinta if it wins approval.

EFFIENT

Plavix already has an anti-platelet competitor from Eli
Lilly (LLY.N: ) and Daiichi Sankyo (4568.T: ) in Effient. Known
generically as prasugrel, the drug won U.S. approval a year ago
after studies showed Effient was more effective than Plavix but
carried a higher risk of bleeding. Effient carries a strong
warning about bleeding risks. Initial sales have disappointed
industry analysts, but Lilly remains confident in the drug.

ELINOGREL

This experimental drug from Novartis (NOVN.VX: ) and Portola
Pharmaceuticals is due to enter final-stage trials in 2010. It
could offer another alternative to Plavix.

ASPIRIN

A cheap and widely used over-the-counter option for
preventing heart attacks. But it may cause potentially fatal
stomach bleeding and strokes in a small percentage of patients.
Aspirin is an antiplatelet agent.

PRADAXA

Privately held Boehringer Ingelheim is developing Pradaxa
as a potential competitor to warfarin, a problematic
50-year-old drug, in patients at risk of stroke due to an
irregular heart beat.

Warfarin, the standard therapy for stroke prevention,
interacts with food and other medicines and doctors must
monitor patients’ blood frequently. New anti-clotting pills
such as Pradaxa were designed not to have those drawbacks.

Some analysts believe Pradaxa may be the first of a new
generation of oral anti-clotting drugs in a market worth more
than $10 billion a year. Pradaxa could win approval in late
2010 or early 2011, Boehringer has said.

Pradaxa and warfarin are anticoagulants, drugs that prevent
new clots from forming or keep existing clots from enlarging.

XARELTO

Bayer (BAYGn.DE: ) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N: ) also are
aiming for the stroke-prevention market with Xarelto. In May
2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration declined to approve
Xarelto for its first use in patients temporarily bedridden
after hip and knee replacement surgery, a much smaller market
than stroke prevention.

APIXABAN

Pfizer (PFE.N: ) and Bristol-Myers are developing this oral
drug as an alternative to warfarin.

HEPARIN

This injectable anticoagulant, derived from pig intestines,
is used in dialysis and heart and other surgeries. Makers
include Baxter International (BAX.N: ).

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(Reporting by Lisa Richwine and Ben Hirschler; Editing by Tim
Dobbyn)

FACTBOX-Blood-thinning drugs may face new competition