I have to think the company would have rather seen the results flip-flopped.
The potential market for apixaban is huge. Pfizer and Bristol-Myers are trying to enter a megablockbuster showdown with Boehringer Ingelheim and a compound from Bayer and Johnson & Johnson
This trial was testing apixaban in patients with a heart condition called acute coronary syndrome (ACS). The stoppage won't affect the trials testing apixaban in atrial fibrillation -- irregular heartbeat -- or as a treatment of venous thromboembolism -- blood clots that can form after surgery -- but investors should be at least a little worried that the ACS trial was stopped because of side effects.
Blood thinners are tricky because thinning out the blood too much can cause uncontrolled bleeding. Whether apixaban will be able to strike the right balance in atrial fibrillation and venous thromboembolism remains to be seen. Early results sure looked promising.
The positive results for cancer drug axitinib are certainly good news, but Pfizer already has two drugs, Sutent and Torisel, approved for use in kidney cancer patients. If axitinib is a rock star, it might take some market share away from Bayer and Onyx Pharmaceuticals'
Drug development is a tough business, and a 50% success rate isn't all that bad. Unfortunately, not all wins are equal, and Pfizer could use a big one right about now.
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