Preclinical discovery of apixaban, a direct and orally bioavailable factor Xa inhibitor

J Thromb Thrombolysis. 2011 May;31(4):478-92. doi: 10.1007/s11239-011-0551-3.


Apixaban (BMS-562247; 1-(4-methoxyphenyl)-7-oxo-6-(4-(2-oxopiperidin-1-yl)phenyl)-4,5,6,7-tetrahydro-1H-pyrazolo[3,4-c]pyridine-3-carboxamide), a direct inhibitor of activated factor X (FXa), is in development for the prevention and treatment of various thromboembolic diseases. With an inhibitory constant of 0.08 nM for human FXa, apixaban has greater than 30,000-fold selectivity for FXa over other human coagulation proteases. It produces a rapid onset of inhibition of FXa with association rate constant of 20 μM⁻¹/s approximately and inhibits free as well as prothrombinase- and clot-bound FXa activity in vitro. Apixaban also inhibits FXa from rabbits, rats and dogs, an activity which parallels its antithrombotic potency in these species. Although apixaban has no direct effects on platelet aggregation, it indirectly inhibits this process by reducing thrombin generation. Pre-clinical studies of apixaban in animal models have demonstrated dose-dependent antithrombotic efficacy at doses that preserved hemostasis. Apixaban improves pre-clinical antithrombotic activity, without excessive increases in bleeding times, when added on top of aspirin or aspirin plus clopidogrel at their clinically relevant doses. Apixaban has good bioavailability, low clearance and a small volume of distribution in animals and humans, and a low potential for drug-drug interactions. Elimination pathways for apixaban include renal excretion, metabolism and biliary/intestinal excretion. Although a sulfate conjugate of Ο-demethyl apixaban (O-demethyl apixaban sulfate) has been identified as the major circulating metabolite of apixaban in humans, it is inactive against human FXa. Together, these non-clinical findings have established the favorable pharmacological profile of apixaban, and support the potential use of apixaban in the clinic for the prevention and treatment of various thromboembolic diseases.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Discovery / history*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / history
  • Enzyme Inhibitors* / chemistry
  • Enzyme Inhibitors* / history
  • Enzyme Inhibitors* / pharmacokinetics
  • Enzyme Inhibitors* / therapeutic use
  • Factor Xa Inhibitors*
  • Fibrinolytic Agents* / chemistry
  • Fibrinolytic Agents* / history
  • Fibrinolytic Agents* / pharmacokinetics
  • Fibrinolytic Agents* / therapeutic use
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Pyrazoles* / chemistry
  • Pyrazoles* / history
  • Pyrazoles* / pharmacokinetics
  • Pyrazoles* / therapeutic use
  • Pyridones* / chemistry
  • Pyridones* / history
  • Pyridones* / pharmacokinetics
  • Pyridones* / therapeutic use
  • Thromboembolism / drug therapy


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Factor Xa Inhibitors
  • Fibrinolytic Agents
  • Pyrazoles
  • Pyridones
  • apixaban