BMS, Pfizer ready key data on closely-watched apixaban

Analysts have been gearing up for the big presentation Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) and Pfizer ($PFE) will make on late-stage data for apixaban at the upcoming meeting of the European Society of Cardiology. Apixaban, an oral anticoagulant, is one of Pfizer's brightest late-stage drug hopefuls. And analysts say that winning Phase III numbers from an 18,000-patient study in the coming days would position the pharma companies for the blockbuster market that awaits a new class of drugs to prevent stroke.

One of the keys to apixaban's success, says Jefferies, will be the data indicating whether the drug is better than warfarin in improving mortality rates for patients with atrial fibrillation. If researchers can deliver those goods, the analysts say that apixaban--to be sold as Eliquis--could grab half of a projected $9 billion market by 2021, according to a story in Reuters.

"What's at stake is whether or not they are going to be best in class for atrial fibrillation," Damien Conover, an analyst at Morningstar, tells Reuters' Ben Hirschler, who gave the drug a bullish preview today. "Given that it's such a giant market, it's important to know whether or not they are going to be splitting it more equally or if they really do have best-in-class status which means they'll get the lion's share of the market."

With analysts looking for a significant bump ahead for shares of Bristol as well as Pfizer--if the data lives up to the buzz--the presentation on August 28 will be packed.

- here's the story from Reuters