Pfizer ends new cholesterol drug trial

Pfizer Inc. said it halted all clinical trials and development of torcetrapib, which was part of the company's efforts to help boost good cholesterol.

By ROBERT DANIEL, MARKETWATCH
December 4, 2006 08:31
1 minute read.

 
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MarketWatch: In-depth global business coverage Pfizer Inc. said it halted all clinical trials and development of torcetrapib, which was part of the company's efforts to help boost good cholesterol. In a statement, the company said the independent Data-Safety Monitoring Board urged the company to end the clinical trial "because of an imbalance of mortality and cardiovascular events." The New York drugmaker said it stopped the trial in the interest of patient safety and was notifying the US Food and Drug Administration and other regulators that it was ending the study. Pfizer also asked clinical investigators to inform patients to stop taking the drug immediately. Pfizer said it has ended its program to develop torcetrapib but that the end of the torcetrapib study has no impact on the safety and efficacy of its Lipitor cholesterol drug. In an October news release, Pfizer had said that torcetrapib with Lipitor significantly increased good, or HDL, cholesterol by 55% to 60% and lowered bad, or LDL, cholesterol by 10% to 15% relative to patients who were taking only Lipitor. Joseph Feczko, Pfizer's chief medical officer, said then that the data supported "our fundamental premise: this innovative medicine really can 'do both' and manage total cholesterol successfully." At the same time, the company emphasized that the data at that point were not yet complete and still needed further analysis. In its latest statement, Pfizer's chief executive, Jeffrey B. Kindler, said the recommendation from the monitoring board was "surprising and disappointing." Nonetheless, the executive affirmed Pfizer's financial estimates for 2006. MarketWatch: In-depth global business coverage


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