Best Laid Plans: Pfizer's Torcetrapib Tanks
Pfizer's decision to discontinue the development of it's Phase III high-density lipoprotein-boosting torcetrapib in early December leaves the Big Pharma with little choice but to accelerate its restructuring plans and start spending some of its estimated $34 billion cash reserves to bolster its pipeline.
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Because tanezumab is the anti-NGF farthest along in development, adverse event reports could spell trouble for the entire planned class of analgesics.
The industry's genericization problem will seriously constrain Big Pharma's ability to pay for late-stage development on all its products. One potential solution is being developed by Pfizer, whose top R&D execs see out-partnering as a way to free up resources for key programs and to expand R&D capacity. In this interview with R&D boss Martin Mackay, Mackay reports that Pfizer is building up a war-chest of out-licensing and partnering candidates, pursuing a wide variety of transactions--including project financing, straight out-licensing and spinoffs. But the extent of Pfizer's long-term commitment to out-partnering still isn't clear.
This examination of Pfizer's first foray into spin-outs is a sidebar to "Can Out-Partnering Power Pfizer Over the "Second Cliff?"" Pfizer's Esperion spin-out hopes to pick up where it left off five years ago when Pfizer bought its first incarnation: developing HDL-raising therapies for CV disease.