Shares of Eli Lilly (LLY) - Get Report rose into the close Tuesday after an FDA panel unanimously recommended approval of its anticlotting agent prasugrel.

The nine members of the Food and Drug Administration's cardiology panel said the new blood thinner, which Lilly developed with Japanese drugmaker

Daiichi Sankyo

, is a significant improvement over its forebears for preventing blood clots in patients with heart problems. The drug, if approved by the FDA, would be an alternative to Plavix, sold by

Bristol-Myers Squibb's

(BMY) - Get Report

and Sanofi-Aventis

(SNY) - Get Report

.

Lilly had asked the panel to specifically evaluate prasugrel, which analysts say could bring in $1 billion in annual revenue, in patients requiring stents after arterial plaque removal .

Though the panel said prasugrel has life-saving potential, it said its use in people who've had a stroke should be discouraged.

Lilly, which makes such drugs as Cymbalta, Zyprexa, Prozac, Cialis and Byetta, which it comarkets with

Amylin Pharmaceuticals

(AMLN)

, is among the big drugmakers --

GlaxoSmithKline

(GSK) - Get Report

,

Novo Nordisk

(NVO) - Get Report

and

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

and Bristol-Myers, to name a few -- thirsty for new drugs amid the impending onslaught of competition from generic versions.

The company recently

swung to a fourth-quarter loss

, in large part because of costs related to its acquisition of ImClone Systems.

Lilly shares closed up 3.8% to $38.69 and were tacking on an additional 1.1% in extended trading Tuesday.