Pfizer Succeeds in Pain Study, Forms JV to Make CNS Drugs

Pfizer Inc.PFE along with Eli Lilly and Company LLY announced detailed data on their NGF inhibitor, tanezumab(subcutaneous), which met all co-primary efficacy endpoints in a phase III study, evaluating it for the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) pain of the knee or hip.

In July, both companies reported top-line outcomes from the phase III program, which showed that treatment with tanezumab led to a statistically significant improvement in pain, physical function and the respective patients' overall assessment of their OA - the three primary endpoints - compared to placebo at 16 weeks.

Per the latest data presentation, the two companies stated that more than half of the patients treated with tanezumab reported a 50% or greater reduction in osteoarthritis pain of the knee or hip. The companies remain on course to report additional data next year.

The findings were presented in a late-breaking oral session at the 2018 annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology for Health Professionals in Chicago.

Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease, which impacts millions of people worldwide. Presently approved treatment options including opioids and NSAIDs are unable to achieve the desired results and offer a relief to patients, who persistently suffer such intolerable pain. Potential approval of the candidate will provide a safer non-opioid pain medication for patients in the United States where opioid abuse is widespread.

We remind investors that Pfizer and Lilly signed an agreement for the joint development and commercialization of tanezumab across the world in 2013.

Tanezumab enjoys a Fast Track designation in the United States for this indication. The companies are also evaluating the candidate in late-stage studies for chronic low back pain and cancer pain.

Notably, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. REGN and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Limited TEVA are also developing a NGF antibody, fasinumab for treating OA.

Shares of Pfizer have rallied 21.7% year to date, outperforming the industry's increase of 4.9%.

Pfizer will provide the newly formed combined entity with its three clinical stage neuroscience pipeline candidates comprising a phase III ready candidate to treat Parkinson's disease and another phase II candidate, which is being initially evaluated for epilepsy. The Parkinson's disease candidate is expected to enter the phase III analysis in 2019. Pfizer will retain a 25% stake in this latest collaboration.

Bain Capital and its affiliated funds have committed a $350-million initial capital to the new JV and will provide additional funding as and when required in the future.

The new company will be headquartered at the Greater Boston area.

Pfizer currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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