March 8, 2013 / 12:40 PM / in 6 years

Bayer eyes wider use for Xarelto with new trials

A plant belonging to Germany's largest drugmaker Bayer is seen in Leverkusen February 22, 2013. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Bayer has initiated two new late-stage studies to widen the use of its anti-blood-clotting pill Xarelto, one of its most important new drugs.

The German company, which is developing the pill with U.S. peer Johnson & Johnson, said it would start a Phase III clinical trial to test Xarelto in patients with chronic heart failure and significant coronary artery disease.

In another trial, also in the third and last phase of testing required for regulatory approval, the drug will be tested on patients receiving a stent to widen narrowed or obstructed arteries, also called percutaneous coronary intervention.

Xarelto, for which Bayer expects more than $2.6 billion in annual peak sales, is already approved for several uses, the largest being stroke prevention in patients suffering from a form of irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation.

U.S. health regulators this month denied approval to an expanded use of Xarelto to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes in patients with acute coronary syndrome.

Reporting by Ludwig Burger

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