Drug Pipeline Pulse Check: More Setbacks for Pfizer

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Includes: BSAC, CELG, PFE
by: Research Recap

PFIZER(NYSE:PFE)

Continuing problems with Pfizer’s pipeline drugs and a major lawsuit are dragging on the world’s largest drug maker. Last week, Pfizer suspended testing of tanezumab in patients with osteoarthritis after “a small number of reports” of patients who received the injected pain treatment saw their osteoarthritis worsen.

Citigroup analysts lowered their price target from $18 to $17 last week, but maintained a Buy rating. The analysts wrote, “The tanezumab failure joins the list of late-stage & lifecycle management setbacks and puts additional pressure on PFE to meet its target of 15-20 regulatory submissions between 2010-2012 time frame.” (American Banking News)

While still maintaining an “outperform” on Pfizer’s stock, Credit Suisse analysts cut the firm’s price target to $21 from $22. Credit Suisse had taken the drug maker off its recommended list late last month while the stock was trading at around $15. (Nasdaq)

Pfizer’s Prempro and Premarin hormone replacement drug lawsuit could also cost the company more than investors had expected.Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Timothy Anderson notes that one plaintiff could receive $3.75 million and there are more than 8,000 lawsuits working its way through the U.S. legal system. (Pharmalot)

GLENMARK PHARMACEUTICALS

The third-largest Indian generics drug maker in the U.S has launched a birth-control pill product this month and has 10 more awaiting FDA approval–with plans to develop still more, reported Fierce Pharma.

“We have built up a strong product pipeline for the U.S. oral contraceptives market, which is evident from 10 pending ANDAs approvals,” Glenmark Generics chief Terrance Coughlin told the Hindustan Times, “and we will strengthen it further.”

Back in May, Glenmark caught the attention of analysts and investors after it signed a $325-million deal to license out its chronic pain drug molecule to French giant Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE:SAN). (Financial Express)

CELGENE CORP. (NASDAQ:CELG)

One of the largest biotech companies in the world, Celgene, is acquiring Abraxis Bioscience (ABII) for $2.9 billion and Celgene will gain ownership of a drug used to treat breast cancer patients. With revenue of $2.7 billion last year coming mainly from drugs like Revlimid used to treat cancers of the blood, the merger expands the company’s commercial operations into the solid tumor market. (TheStreet)

Robert W. Baird & Co. analyst Christopher Raymond wrote in a note on Wednesday that the deal was positive for Celgene. ”While execution risk to Celgene’s announced acquisition of Abraxis exists, we like this deal as we have long viewed Abraxane as an asset with significant unrealized upside opportunity,” he said. (MarketWatch)

SANOFI-AVENTIS (SAN)

Another important oncology deal was announced on Wednesday between French firm Sanofi-Aventis and San Diego-based TargeGen. Sanofi is paying $75 million upfront and up to $560 million for TargeGen, a privately held biopharmaceutical company that makes drugs to treat leukemia, lymphoma and other blood disorders. TargeGen has completed Phase I and II studies of TG 101348, with additional studies due to start in the second half of 2010. (MarketWatch)

Sheena Lee