LONDON--Porter Novelli's Paradigm Communications has been hired to handle comms duties for blood thinning drug Eliquis in Europe.

Produced by Bristol Myers Squibb and marketed by Pfizer, potential blockbuster Eliquis is an oral anticlotting drug that has been approved in the US and Europe to prevent strokes in people with heart rhythm disorders. 

Eliquis is one of three new anticoagulants that hope to replace warfarin, with the others being Boehringer Ingelheim's Pradaxa, and Xarelto, from Johnson & Johnson and Bayer. All three are expected to receive substantial marketing backing from their parent companies.

The Holmes Report understands that Paradigm, a Porter Novelli sibling shop that focuses on healthcare, secured the European assignment following a competitive review.

Earlier this year, the UK's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommended Eliquis as a treatment for atrial fibrilliation, paving the way for NHS funding in the country.

Eliquis' blockbuster potential is viewed as a filip for both BMS and Pfizer, which now face generic competition for big-selling drugs Plavix and Lipitor, respectively. Analysts expect peak sales of more than $5bn.

A BMS spokesperson said that the company does not comment on consultancy relationships.