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GEN News Highlights : Feb 24, 2009

Pfizer Calls Off Late-Stage Evaluations with Anxiety and Fibromyalgia Drugs

Firm found that neither would offer more than currently marketed treatments.

Pfizer is axing Phase III development of esreboxetine for fibromyalgia and PD 332,334 for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The company says that this decision frees up resources that will be allocated to other higher potential programs within the primary care business unit. 

This marks the second and third drugs to get stopped in Phase III development by Pfizer this year. Last year, the company axed two drugs; both were in late-stage trials.

After reviewing the results of the first Phase III study of PD 332,334 and the existing data for esreboxetine, Pfizer found it unlikely that either compound would provide meaningful benefit to patients beyond the current standard of care. 

Pfizer will pursue the investigation of Lyrica CV in the treatment of GAD. Lyrica CV is already approved for fibromyalgia. Furthermore, Pedro Lichtinger, president and GM, Pfizer’s primary care business unit, says that, “We are advancing the investigational compound tanezumab into areas of pain management beyond osteoarthritis and see potential opportunities for other investigational compounds in other areas of significant patient need, including Alzheimer’s disease and thrombosis.”

In February the company axed trials of axitinib in pancreatic cancer, because it missed its primary endpoint of improving survival. In November 2008 Pfizer dropped development of its obesity treatment, a selective antagonist of the cannabinoid type 1 receptor, due to risks involved in getting a compound from this class of drugs approved. And in April 2008 the firm decided to discontinue the investigation of tremelimumab as a melanoma therapy.