Researchers have received financial support to develop a new kind of blood thinner they believe may prevent life threatening blood clots without causing major bleeding events, a dangerous side effect to currently marketed anticoagulants.
Index Ventures is teaming up with GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson to create X01, a new company formed to develop experimental drugs. The new $11 million venture early-stage biotech fund will help fund research into the innovative blood thinner ichorcumab. The drug is still in the very early stages of development with clinical trials not expected for at least another two years. However, financial analysts say it has the potential to cause a commercial stir in the drug industry.
Researchers with the University of Cambridge and Addebrooke’s Hospital created the drug after observing a patient in her 50s whose blood was unable to clot but who experienced no major bleeding events following a head injury. Scientists identified that this unusual response was due to a special antibody, which they synthesized to develop ichorcumab.
One of the most common blood thinners, warfarin, has been on the market for decades to prevent or treat blood clots that can cause serious and sometimes deadly health complications including stroke, heart attack and pulmonary embolism.
In 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Pradaxa, the first blood thinner since warfarin used to prevent strokes in patients with a common heart rhythm abnormality known as atrial fibrillation. The drug was thought to be just as effective as warfarin, but less likely to cause bleeding side effects. However, in the first 14 months since it was approved, Pradaxa was associated with more than 900 gastrointestinal bleeds and 500 bleeding deaths.