Pfizer said the FDA has approved the use of its pain killer Lyrica for treating fibromyalgia, a common chronic-pain condition that affects 3-6 million Americans. Lyrica is the first FDA-approved medication to treat the condition. Lyrica was already approved for pain due to diabetes and shingles. It was Pfizer's first $1 billion drug since Viagra. "Pfizer needs the fibromyalgia indication to stimulate Lyrica growth," said Bear Stearns analyst John Boris. Lyrica sales were $1.2 billion in 2006; analysts say they may reach $3.4 billion by 2012. Lyrica works by interfering with damaged, pain-causing nerves. News of the approval was welcome news for Pfizer, which on Wednesday had the FDA delay approval of an HIV drug, and cancelled development of a lung-cancer drug. In a study of 750 patients, 30% had a pain reduction using the drug's highest dosage (600 mg.), 27% on the middle dose (450 mg.), 24% on the lowest dose (300 mg.) -- vs. 15% on placebo. Pfizer shares are flat YTD, vs. a 4.3% gain in the SPDR Pharmaceuticals ETF.
Sources: Press release, TheStreet, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg
Commentary: Pfizer's New HIV Drug -- So What? • Barron's: Value Investor Cliff Hoover's Quality Picks • Pfizer's a Sell: Shrinking Top Line, No Blockbusters In the Pipeline
Stocks/ETFs to watch: Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE). ETFs: Pharmaceutical HOLDRs (NYSEARCA:PPH), iShares Dow Jones US Pharmaceuticals (NYSEARCA:IHE), SPDR Pharmaceuticals (NYSEARCA:XPH)
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