Merck gives rights to anticoagulant back to Portola

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Merck will return the rights for the oral factor Xa inhibitor anticoagulant betrixaban, being evaluated for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation to Portola Pharmaceuticals.

Back in July 2009, Merck and Portola entered a license agreement to collaboratively develop betrixaban, which recently was evaluated in the phase II trial EXPLORE-Xa. When compared with warfarin, betrixaban showed lower rates of bleeding.

"Working closely with our Portola collaborators, we have advanced betrixaban to this Phase III-ready stage," said Luciano Rossetti, MD, senior vice president of global scientific strategy at Merck. "As part of an ongoing prioritization of our late-stage pipeline, we have decided to return rights for betrixaban to Portola. Merck continues to advance its broad late-stage pipeline and remains committed to delivering medicines for cardiovascular disease."

San Francisco-based Portola said that will look to create a development plan to discuss betrixaban’s place on the market.