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Bristol-Myers, Pfizer Stop Study of Blood Thinner Early on Positive Result

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Pfizer Inc. ended a trial of an experimental blood thinner after a panel found “clear evidence” the drug, apixaban, helped reduce stroke risk in patients with irregular heart beats.

The independent review panel deemed apixaban more effective than aspirin in preventing strokes and embolism in patients with atrial fibrillation who can’t take blood thinners such as warfarin, the companies said in a joint statement today. The study, dubbed Averroes, was stopped early, after the interim review, and covered 5,600 patients in 36 countries, the companies said in the statement.

The blood thinner is among five drugs for which Bristol- Myers is seeking Food and Drug Administration approval by 2012, the company said in March. Johnson & Johnson, Bayer AG and Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH sell similar medicines in Europe to prevent blood clots and are waiting for clearance in the U.S. The companies are vying for a global market that may reach $20 billion by 2012, according to Datamonitor, a London-based research company.

The Averroes study was conducted by the Population Health Research Institute of McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences, based in Hamilton, Ontario.

The institute will announce the findings and publish them once the analysis is complete, the Bristol-Myers and Pfizer said. Both companies are based in New York.

To contact the reporter on this story: Molly Peterson in Washington at mpeterson9@bloomberg.net

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