BOSTON (Reuters) – A hemophilia drug made by Novo Nordisk did not save the lives of patients after dangerous bleeding strokes or help them to function any better, researchers reported on Wednesday.

The genetically engineered form of recombinant Factor VII slowed the rate at which bleeding spread through the brain, the study of 841 patients found.

But the risk of severe disability or death after 90 days was the same whether patients received a placebo or either of two doses of the drug, sold under the brand name NovoSeven, researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Brain bleeding, also known as an intracerebral hemorrhage, is responsible for 10 percent of the 780,000 strokes that occur in the United States each year, according to the American Heart Association. It kills about 40 percent of patients within 30 days, and those who survive are often severely disabled.

There are no good treatments for such strokes, which is why the researchers were encouraged when their smaller study of 399 patients found that the 90-day death rate with the drug was just 18 percent, compared to 29 percent for those who received placebo treatment.

Novo Nordisk paid for the research, led by Stephan Mayer of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York.

(Editing by Maggie Fox and John Wallace)

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