Ischemic stroke patients, who are at high risk of getting a blood clot in their legs, will do better with Sanofi-Aventis's Lovenox drug than with the cheaper heparin, according to a Lancet medical journal study released Thursday. Researchers compared Lovenox's (produced generically as enoxaparin) once-daily injections with unfractionated heparin, a cheaper, twice-daily injection derived from pig tissues. In a study of 1,762 patients paralyzed by an ischemic stroke, they found enoxaparin was 43% more effective at preventing leg and lung blood clots than the older heparin treatment. Rates of internal bleeding -- a concern with blood thinners -- were similar for both drugs, although Lovenox did show a slightly higher rate of external brain bleeding. David Sherman of the University of Texas Health Science Center, who led the study, commented: "I think that Lovenox will become the standard of care." In a February ruling, a California judge found Aventis' Lovenox patent unenforceable.
Sources: Reuters, Lovenox ruling (.pdf)
Commentary: Amphastar and Teva Prevail Over Aventis in Generic Lovenox Trial • Is Momenta's Stock Plunge Justified? • Searching for Value Investments in the Drug Stock Universe
Stocks/ETFs to watch: sanofi-aventis (SNY). Competitors: Eli Lilly and Company (LLY), Momenta Pharmaceuticals Inc. (MNTA), Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA), GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK), Novartis AG (NVS), Pfizer Inc. (PFE), Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK). ETFs: Pharmaceutical HOLDRs (PPH), iShares Dow Jones US Pharmaceuticals (IHE)
Related: Heparin on Wikipedia, Enoxaparin on Wikipedia
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