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Bristol-Myers Rises After FDA Approves Blood Thinner Eliquis

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The anti-clotting drug developed with Pfizer is seen as a potential blockbuster drug. The product was approved three months earlier than expected.

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Shares of Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) are rising after the drug maker won US approval for Eliquis, its blood-thinning treatment aimed at preventing strokes and serious blood clots.

Bristol-Myers and development partner Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) got word of the approval Friday afternoon, almost three months earlier than a deadline set by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA rejected the drug last June, saying the companies needed to provide more information to show the medicine works and is safe.

Eliquis is an alternative to warfarin, which has been used for decades. Other companies, including Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and Boehringer Ingelheim, sell their own new warfarin replacements. J&J sells the Bayer-licensed drug Xarelto and German-based Boehringer markets Pradaxa.

"We continue to believe Eliquis is well positioned to be the leader in the warfarin-replacement market," Leerink Swann analyst Seamus Fernandez says in a note Monday morning.

Both Bristol-Myers and Pfizer need big, new drugs to replace older treatments that now face generic competition.

Shares of Bristol-Myers rose 2% to $32.40 in morning trading Monday. The stock declined 8% in 2012. Shares of Pfizer, which is more than three times the market cap of Bristol-Myers, fell less than 1% to $24.85. Pfizer's stock rose 15% in 2012.

(See also: Keep an Eye on These Five New Drugs in the First Quarter of 2013.)

Twitter: @brettchase

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