November 30, 2006
Pfizer boasts of pipeline
Pfizer promised investors a “broad and very diversified stream of new products in development” that will produce four new products a year beginning in 2011. In a release ahead of today’s six-hour analyst meeting underway in Groton, Conn., the company said it now has 242 development programs spanning 11 therapeutic areas including atherosclerosis, oncology, diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV, schizophrenia, liver disease and Alzheimer’s. Dr. John LaMattina, president of global R&D, said the company’s Phase 3 portfolio could triple by 2009 and will produce four new products a year starting in 2011. LaMattina showcased a cardiovascular, metabolic and endocrine portfolio featuring torcetrapib/atorvastatin, which has lately edged out Sanofi Aventis’ Acomplia as the most-anticipated drug in development. On torcetrapib’s unwelcome tendency to raise blood pressure, the Pfizer research chief said today that studies being conducted by Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Dr. Seven Nissen on atherosclerosis regression “take this into account” and that the two drugs’ combined ability to lower LDL and raise HDL cholesterol “should overwhelm” the blood pressure elevation side effect. Pfizer said it will release full data from the atherosclerosis studies in March at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) meeting. “We will respect all ACC disclosure policies and won’t present any more data on T/A until then,” LaMattina said, referring to the torcetrapib/atorvastatin combo drug. Pfizer hopes to submit an NDA based on the atherosclerosis trials in late 2007. Pfizer revealed two other backup compounds to torcetrapib, neither of which raised blood pressure in pre-clinical studies. One -- CP-800,569 -- has made it to phase 1 trials. LaMattina also talked up Pfizer's pipeline in obesity, diabetes, bone and muscle health and thrombosis. Other candidates in late stage development include a potential obesity treatment, CP-945,598, now in Phase 3 studies. The company’s oncology portfolio includes CP-675,206, in Phase 3 trials against metastatic melanoma, and axitinib, an anti-angiogenesis drug expected to move to Phase 3 trials for breast, thyroid and lung cancers. In neuroscience, Pfizer is testing Lyrica for fibromylagia. In infectious diseases, the company plans to file for approval next month for maraviroc, a CCR5 inhibitor for treatment-experienced HIV patients. Pfizer also mentioned PF-3,491,390, an anti-fibrotic agent for chronic liver disease scheduled for Phase 3 trials next year. In addition, the firm has a potential Humira competitor, CP-690,550, in Phase 2 studies for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. The compound targets Janus Kinase 3, which is associated with immunosuppression. For 2006, the firm expects revenues to be up slightly and costs down a notch. The disclosures, to be accompanied by a more detailed breakout of the company’s pipeline posted online, come as part of a transparency initiative meant to appease analysts and investors frustrated with the taciturn approach taken by former chief Hank McKinnell. “During the past four months, I have repeatedly heard from investors that they would like a broader picture of our pipeline and its potential, as well as a realistic assessment of our opportunities and challenges," said Pfizer CEO Jeff Kindler. "The comprehensive pipeline and strategy review today, along with the extensive discussion with our key scientists, address these critically important points."