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
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'
Bleeding is often an issue for blood thinners like Xarelto. Merck
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
There's no need to be a bleeding heart for Johnson & Johnson and Bayer. They'll be fine without the acute-care indication.