Thursday, March 24, 2011

Scrappy Portola ready for new fight on blood thinner

In the street fight known as drug development, Portola Pharmaceuticals Inc. just got bloodied.
Yet even as partner Merck & Co. ran away from the brawl — saying Thursday that it was returning the blood-thinning drug betrixaban to Portola — the South San Francisco company may be in a position to stanch the bleeding. It has about $100 million on hand, a Phase III-ready drug with solid Phase II data and a deep portfolio that includes an early-stage antidote that could quickly reverse the effects of blood thinners.
To hear Portola CEO Bill Lis, you’d think his company is in a scrappy mood. Portola, he said, even could pursue indications for betrixaban beyond prevention of stroke in atrial fibrillation patients and stopping embolism after knee surgery, with or without a new partner.
“I think we want to take it forward by ourselves,” Lis said.

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