AstraZeneca developing reversal agent for
heart drug Brilinta
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[November 13, 2014] By
LONDON (Reuters) - AstraZeneca is
developing an antibody treatment to reverse the blood-thinning effect of
its heart drug Brilinta in rare emergency situations, such as urgent
surgery or in the event of major bleeding.
The move could give Brilinta an edge among drugs that block
platelets in the blood, since there are no approved products to
counteract their effects. Because they reduce clotting, the drugs
can cause problems if doctors need to operate suddenly.
AstraZeneca said on Thursday the experimental antibody product,
MEDI2452, was in pre-clinical tests at its MedImmune biotech unit.
Brilinta has struggled so far to gain traction in a competitive
market, where Plavix - developed by Sanofi and Bristol-Myers Squibb
- is now available as a cheap generic.
However, prospects for the drug brightened in August when the U.S.
Department of Justice dropped an investigation into the original
clinical trial used to win marketing approval, lifting a shadow
hanging over the product.
Brilinta has also won preferred status from two U.S. medical
An AstraZeneca spokeswoman said Brilinta demand was now picking up,
with U.S. new prescription volume overtaking Eli Lilly's rival
Effient in the week commencing Oct. 27.
AstraZeneca flagged up the promise of Brilinta in its defense
against an abortive $118 billion takeover bid by Pfizer earlier this
year, forecasting annual sales of $3.5 billion for the drug by 2023.
That number assumes it works more widely in heart conditions, and a
series of large clinical trials are now under way to prove the case.
AstraZeneca hopes to report headline results from one study, known
as PEGASUS, in December or early in January.
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AstraZeneca, which is determined to prove the value of its drug
pipeline, will hold an investor day focused on new medicines on Nov.
18, eight days before Pfizer is allowed to return with a new public
offer under British takeover rules.
In another move to bolster its long-term drug prospects, AstraZeneca
also signed a drug technology deal on Thursday with Isis
(Editing by Jon Boyle)
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