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Pfizer brings cancer pipeline to forefront

Pfizer has revealed that a number of its pipeline cancer compounds have advanced to phase III clinical development

Pfizer has revealed that a number of its pipeline cancer compounds have advanced to phase III clinical development.

The world's largest pharmaceutical firm presented data at a meeting with financial analysts on 4 June at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting (ASCO) in Chicago, Illinois.

The company highlighted the following oncology compounds that are currently in phase III trials as well as additional compounds expected to advance into phase III trials in 2008:

1) Sutent: phase III for breast cancer/ new phase III for non-small-cell lung, colorectal, and liver cancer
2) Axitinib: phase III for thyroid cancer/ new phase III for pancreatic cancer
3) CP-751,871: phase III for melanoma/ new phase III data available 2008
4) PF 3,512,676: for non-small-cell lung cancer/ new phase III data available 2008

Pfizer currently invests more than 20 per cent of its development budget in oncology research, with active programmes in immunotherapy, signal transduction inhibition and angiogenesis inhibition.

During the past five years, the number of R&D oncology projects in Pfizer has increased dramatically. There are 30 programmes in preclinical development, while 16 oncology compounds are in phase I-III clinical development, which include four compounds

in phase II and three compounds, as well as a potential additional indication for Sutent (sunitinib), currently in phase III.

At the conference, Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies presented pipeline cancer treatments, which it hopes will boost profits after a number of high-profile late-stage clinical failures.

Pfizer has experienced increasing generic erosion of its mainstay drugs, with its top-selling cholesterol-lowering drug, Lipitor (atorvastatin) an example. The market for cancer drugs is expected to rise to USD 70bn in 2009 from USD 42bn in 2004, according to GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

Bear Stearns analysts have estimated that oncology products make up around 40 per cent of Pfizer's pipeline and could generate about USD 2.1bn.

7th June 2007

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