TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Could the once-popular arthritis pill Vioxx get a second life? A startup pharmaceutical company hopes so.

In 2004, Merck & Co. voluntarily pulled the blockbuster drug amid evidence it doubled the chances of having a heart attack or stroke.

Now tiny Tremeau Pharmaceuticals is working to bring back Vioxx back to treat severe joint pain caused by the bleeding disorder hemophilia. That would be for far fewer patients than the millions who took Vioxx pills for arthritis and other chronic pain.

If it's approved in a few years, following patient testing, doctors could again legally prescribe it to anyone.

Tremeau was announcing Tuesday that U.S. regulators have designated it an orphan drug, which brings financial and other benefits.