The global anticoagulant market is projected to be worth more than $11.2bn by 2015, more than half of this market being for stroke prevention in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF).
Unfractionated heparin (UFH) is an injectable anticoagulant that is widely used when rapid anticoagulation is required. UFH binds to antithrombin III and the resulting complex inactivates a number of coagulation proteins, including thrombin (IIa) and factor Xa. This non-specific binding of UFH results in unpredictable efficacy.
The injectable route restricts the use of UFH to a limited timeframe in hospitalised patients, with a need for frequent monitoring of bleeding parameters. Furthermore, heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) occurs in about 3 per cent of patients receiving UFH.
“The huge market potential, combined with the significant shortcomings of heparins and warfarin, drives development of new anticoagulants…”