Not satisfied with posting a reasonable set of financials, Bristol-Myers Squibb has also announced a deal potentially worth $1 billion with fellow New York-based drug major Pfizer to develop and commercialise a promising late-stage anticoagulant.

The two firms will work together on apixaban, which B-MS has been studying for the prevention of blood clots, and Phase III trials are currently underway investigating the potential use of the compound in the prevention of venous thromboembolism, which includes deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism and the prevention of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation. Phase II studies are looking at apixaban, a novel, oral, highly selective, direct Factor Xa inhibitor, in the treatment of acute symptomatic DVT and for the secondary prevention of cardiovascular events in patients with acute coronary syndrome.

Under the terms of the deal, B-MS will receive an upfront payment of $250 million and Pfizer will fund 60% of development costs. The latter firm may also fork out additional payments of up to $750 million based on various milestones and the companies will jointly develop the clinical and marketing strategy of apixaban, sharing commercialisation expenses and profits/losses equally on a global basis.

Commenting on the deal, Jeffrey Kindler, chief executive at Pfizer, said "we see significant opportunities for an orally active anticoagulant with the clinical profile apixaban has demonstrated to date, particularly because of the clear need for new treatments to combat thrombosis and stroke. He added that the compound “has the potential to be a best-in-class product and would represent an excellent strategic fit with our global cardiovascular franchise."

However apixaban is likely to face competition from rivaroxaban, another Factor Xa inhibitor being developed by Bayer, which has a marketing deal in place with Johnson & Johnson's subsidiary Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical. Bayer may file rivaroxaban at the end of this year and believes its once-a-day dose could give an advantage over apixaban, which will likely be given twice a day.

Metabolic disorders pact also signed

B-MS and Pfizer also signed a separate agreement to develop drugs for metabolic disorders, including obesity and diabetes, that are now in advanced stages of preclinical testing.

Under the terms of that deal, Pfizer will be responsible for all research and early-stage activities and the companies will jointly conduct Phase III development and commercialisation efforts. B-MS will make an upfront payment of $50 million to Pfizer as part of this agreement and the latter firm will assume 60% of expenses and profits.