That whooshing sound you heard coming out of the American College of Cardiology meeting was a potential $1 billion in sales vanishing from Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) and Bayer's Xarelto.

Don't feel too sorry for the duo, though. Xarelto should be a blockbuster, even with the new disappointing data.

In the study presented at ACC, Xarelto was being tested as a prevention for blood clots in patients hospitalized for acute medical illnesses such as cancer and pneumonia. The drug prevented clots better than sanofi-aventis' (NYSE: SNY) Lovenox for the first 35 days. Unfortunately, the patients taking Xarelto also saw their rate of bleeding more than double compared to those taking Lovenox. That might be a dealbreaker for an approval in that indication.

Bleeding is often an issue for blood thinners like Xarelto. Merck (NYSE: MRK) stopped some trials of vorapaxar earlier this year because of excessive bleeding. There's a fine balance between preventing heart problems and causing bleeding where it shouldn't happen.

Treating those acutely ill patients could have added $1 billion or more to sales of Xarelto. That's disappointing for sure, but Xarelto still has the potential to be used in a heart-rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation. The Food and Drug Administration should sign off on using the drug in that indication later this year.

In that indication, Xarelto will have competition from Boehringer Ingelheim's Pradaxa, which was recently approved, and potentially Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) and Bristol-Myers Squibb's (NYSE: BMY) apixaban,which is a little farther behind. But the atrial fibrillation market is huge, as in multibillion-dollar huge, with plenty of room for multiple players.

There's no need to be a bleeding heart for Johnson & Johnson and Bayer. They'll be fine without the acute-care indication.

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