fizer’s overhaul of its pipeline is continuing apace following the news that the drugs giant is discontinuing development of two late-stage compounds.
The company has decided to terminate its Phase III programmes for the fibromyalgia, drug esreboxetine and PD332,334 for generalised anxiety disorder. There was no problem safety-wise with the compounds but Pfizer said that after reviewing data, and taking into account “current market dynamics, it was considered unlikely that either compound would provide meaningful benefit to patients beyond the current standard of care”.
Pedro Lichtinger, president of Pfizer’s primary care business unit, noted that the firm will allocate the resources from the terminated Phase III programmes into developing medicines in areas of unmet need. Specifically, he noted that tanezumab is being explored in areas of pain management beyond osteoarthritis and Pfizer sees potential opportunities in areas such as Alzheimer’s disease and thrombosis.
Pfizer, which recently pulled the plug on a late-stage trial investigating axitinib as a treatment for advanced pancreatic cancer after it failed to show any survival benefit, said it will continue to pursue an application for Lyrica (pregabalin) as a treatment for GAD. The latter is already approved to treat epilepsy and fibromyalgia.
Analysts believe that the number of failures that Pfizer has suffered in Phase III further highlights the disappointing pipeline the firm had amassed despite having an annual R&D budget of around $7.5 billion. The addition of Wyeth’s drugs, once Pfizer’s $68 billion takeover is completed, will make that pipeline look much more healthy.