By Saabira Chaudhuri
Baxter International Inc. (BAX) said results from a study evaluating its investigational treatment for patients with hemophilia B were positive.
The medical product company's BAX 326--its investigational recombinant factor IX protein for the treatment and prophylaxis of bleeding episodes for patients with hemophilia B over 12 years of age--was recently granted orphan-drug designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
"With only one recombinant protein currently available to treat hemophilia B, it was important to focus research efforts on finding another option for patients with this debilitating disease," Lead Investigator Jerzy Windyga said. "In this study, more than 40 percent of patients using BAX 326 as a prophylactic treatment experienced no bleeds, an important finding given the potentially harmful impact of bleeding episodes for patients."
The study investigated the efficacy and safety of BAX 326 in 73 previously treated patients with severe or moderately severe hemophilia B.
Baxter noted that hemophilia B is the second most common type of hemophilia--also known as Christmas disease--and is the result of insufficient amounts of clotting factor IX, a naturally occurring protein in blood that controls bleeding. The company added that about 25,000 people world-wide, including more than 4,000 in the U.S., have been diagnosed with hemophilia B.
Baxter's profits have improved for more than a year on strong demand for its hemophilia and immunodeficiency products. Its bottom line has been less pressured by the slowdown in health-care spending, compared with some peers, because Baxter focuses on medical devices and pharmaceuticals used to treat life-threatening ailments and injuries.
In October, Baxter said its third-quarter earnings rose 1.2% as the company's margins improved, though sales were short of its prior guidance.
Shares closed Friday at $65.07 and were inactive in recent premarket trading. The stock has risen 32% so far this year.
Write to Saabira Chaudhuri at [email protected]
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