Pfizer (NSE: PFE) has been in a drug development slump during the last several years, but a new study involving thousands of patients taking Pfizer’s experimental heart drug apixaban, developed in conjunction with New Jersey-based Bristol-Myers Squibb, has demonstrated that the drug is effective against blood clots and stroke in patients with with atrial fibrillation, the two companies jointly announced.
Pfizer said that it stopped the late-stage clinical trial on Thursday of apixaban a few months early because an independent data monitoring committee said that the study has “revealed clear evidence of a clinically important reduction in stroke and systemic embolism.”
The study tested the drug patients that would normally be considered unsuitable for the standard anti blood-clogging therapy of wayfarin, a drug known to cause hemorrhages and osteoporosis.
“This announcement is clearly a positive surprise,” said New York-based healthcare analyst Les Funtleyder of Miller Tabak & Co. in a research note to investors. Funtleyder said that a similar drug from Johnson and Johnson called Xarelto “was thought to be in the lead” in developing a market for a new class of anti clotting therapies, however apixaban’s recent success in clinical trials may allow it to “leapfrog” over its competitors and be the first to win regulatory approval.
Pfizer’s stock rose by 3.7% on Friday, hitting $15.46 per share. Bristol-Myers stock finished up 1.8% ending at $25.08.