Big setback for Bayer as it ends trial of blood thinner drug
Germany’s Bayer has aborted a large, late-stage trial testing a new anti-clotting drug, for lack of efficacy, dealing a fresh blow to the embattled drugmaker and throwing its most promising medium-term development project in doubt.
It said in a statement late on Sunday that experimental anticoagulant asundexian, which it had hoped would generate annual sales of more than €5bn, was shown to be inferior to Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer’s Eliquis in preventing strokes in high-risk patients, part of the way into a phase III trial.
The trial halt, which followed the recommendation of independent trial supervisors, marks another setback for company burdened by a weak herbicide business and by US lawsuits over the alleged carcinogenic effect of its commonly used Roundup weedkiller.
New Bayer CEO Bill Anderson is weighing options to break apart the maker of prescription drugs, consumer health products, crop chemicals and seeds, in a bid to revive a battered share price. He is also seeking to simplify management decision-making, cutting management positions.
Bayer said it will further analyse the data to understand the outcome of the discontinued trial, known as OCEANIC-AF, which was initiated in August 2022.
It added that the independent trial supervisors recommended the continuation of a separate phase III trial, OCEANIC-STROKE, testing asundexian to prevent repeated strokes in participants who have already suffered one.
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