Pfizer partners with BMS in $1B deal

Pfizer has agreed to pay $250 million up front and up to $750 million in milestones to partner with Bristol-Myers Squibb on apixaban, a blood clot therapy that has demonstrated promising efficacy and could go on to become a successor for Coumadin. Apixaban went into late-stage clinical trials last year after demonstrating an ability to reduce the number of deaths and blood clots in the legs and lungs of patients who have undergone orthopedic surgery. Pfizer will fund 60 percent of all planned development costs effective January 1, 2007, and Bristol-Myers Squibb will fund 40 percent. The two companies also agreed to collaborate on the development of some advanced preclinical compounds that Pfizer has developed for metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity. BMS will pay Pfizer $50 million to advance the R&D work in metabolic disorders.

In Phase III, researchers are examining the drug's ability to reduce strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation. Apixaban targets a protein called Factor Xa, which plays a role in the development of blood clots. That's the same target of rivaroxaban, an experimental therapy in development by Bayer and Johnson & Johnson, which analysts say is further along.

"By combining our company's long-standing strengths in cardiovascular drug development and commercialization with Pfizer's global scale and expertise in this field, we can maximize the potential benefits of apixaban for patients. In addition, the metabolic disorders program complements existing research efforts in another area of significant unmet medical need where Bristol-Myers Squibb is quite active," said Jim Cornelius, CEO, Bristol-Myers Squibb.

- check out the release on the Pfizer/BMS deal
- read the report on BMS from AFX

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