Pfizer Pflubs -- You Expected Otherwise?

Don't let it get away!

Keep track of the stocks that matter to you.

Help yourself with the Fool's FREE and easy new watchlist service today.

Here's the bad news: Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  ) announced yesterday that it stopped a phase 3 trial for its experimental cancer fighter, figitumumab, because the data monitoring board said the trial was unlikely to show that figitumumab helps extend lives of lung cancer patients.

Here's the good news: Investors shouldn't have expected much more. That's not a jab at Pfizer -- even if it's sometimes too easy. The company had already stopped enrollment in the trial after the monitoring board saw an increase in side effects, including death, in the patients taking figitumumab.

The trial tested figitumumab in combination with two standard drugs, paclitaxel and carboplatin, compared to paclitaxel plus carboplatin alone. The failure is particularly disappointing because of figitumumab's strong phase 2 results in patients with squamous cell histology. Other drugs like Nexavar, from Bayer and Onyx Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ONXX  ) , and motesanib, by Takeda Pharmaceutical and Amgen (Nasdaq: AMGN  ) , have shown negative effects in that cell type, leaving the market wide open.

It's possible that the side effects in the ended trial were due to the specific combination of figitumumab, paclitaxel and carboplatin, but investors shouldn't hold their breath. Pfizer is still continuing a trial testing figitumumab in combination with Roche and OSI Pharmaceuticals' (Nasdaq: OSIP  ) Tarceva.

The company is also testing figitumumab in other cancers, and it may still work, but I'd hold off on penciling it in as the next Gemzar, which Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY  ) has gotten approved for four different cancer types. We need to see whether the side effects are specific to figitumumab or to the combination before we'll know whether there's more good news than bad in figitumumab's future.

Talk about bad news ... Austin Edwards tells you what to do when the Dow hits 7,500 again.

Pfizer is a recommendation of the Inside Value newsletter. The Inside Value team scours high and low to bring you the best value stocks available. Check it out for free with a 30-day trial.

Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 1075166, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/26/2016 9:21:06 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 5 minutes ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,199.33 30.06 0.17%
S&P 500 2,139.43 -3.73 -0.17%
NASD 5,250.27 -33.13 -0.63%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/26/2016 4:00 PM
PFE $32.40 Up +0.12 +0.37%
Pfizer CAPS Rating: ****
AMGN $158.99 Up +1.10 +0.69%
Amgen CAPS Rating: ****
LLY $76.76 Down -0.99 -1.27%
Eli Lilly and Co. CAPS Rating: ***
ONXX.DL $0.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Onyx Pharmaceutica… CAPS Rating: **
OSIP.DL $0.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
OSI Pharmaceutical… CAPS Rating: **