J&J's Xarelto pads artery disease case by reducing amputation, death rates vs. aspirin

Johnson & Johnson is hoping Xarelto can win approval in peripheral and coronary artery disease patients after dropping positive data in August. Now, it has more results to back up its caseand help it extend its indication lead over the competition.

In studies published in The Lancet, Xarelto showed it could significantly lower the risk of major amputation by 70% in PAD patients compared with solo aspirin. And the blockbuster also cut the risk of death among CAD patients by 23%.

RELATED: J&J's Xarelto combo tops aspirin in artery disease, cueing $1.5B in U.S. sales

The data, from subanalyses of the company’s Compass trial, strengthen J&J’s case for go-aheads in the two populations, which Credit Suisse analyst Vamil Divan has said could help pad U.S. sales by $1.5 billion annually. It would also give Xarelto a foothold in a market that’s so far untapped by its in-class rivals, Boehringer Ingelheim’s Pradaxa and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Eliquis.

And it’s a big market, too. Six million to 7 million patients could potentially receive treatment if Xarelto can win the FDA’s favor, Joaquin Duato told investors on the New Jersey drugmaker’s third-quarter earnings conference call.

RELATED: Pfizer, BMS' Eliquis takes J&J's next-gen anticoagulant market-share crown

Xarelto has long led the next-gen anticoagulant group in terms of its indication count, but that hasn’t stopped Eliquis from coming from behind to snatch the No. 1 market-share position in the U.S., as well as in Japan and Canada, Bristol CFO Charlie Bancroft said on the company’s own third-quarter conference call. It also leads in new-to-brand scripts in key markets including Germany, the U.K. and Spain.

J&J, though, is doing what it can to chip away at warfarin, the standby that all three meds have been working to unseat. And as company pharma chairman Joaquin Duato told investors on the New Jersey drugmaker’s own third-quarter call, “we are starting to put a bigger dent” in the old-guard product’s share.