Merck, Portola release results of mid-stage betrixaban trial

ATLANTA An investigational pill reduced bleeding in patients with atrial fibrillation better than a widely available generic, according to results of a mid-stage clinical trial.

Merck & Co. and Portola Pharmaceuticals announced the results of the EXPLORE-Xa, a 508-patients phase 2 trial comparing the drug, betrixaban, with the anticoagulant warfarin. Data were presented at the annual scientific session of the American College of Cardiology in Atlanta.

Researchers found that betrixaban administered once a day reduced the incidence of clinically relevant non-major bleeding episodes better than warfarin when given to patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter and at least one risk factor for stroke.

“Given that bleeding can be a significant safety issue for patients who take warfarin, there is a critical unmet need for anticoagulant therapy options,” study coordinator and Jefferson Medical College professor Michael Ezekowitz said.

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