The company ended a clinical trial early because its cancer drug Sutent was able to stop the progression of a rare form of pancreatic cancer -- the same type that Steve Jobs of Apple
Sutent is currently approved to treat kidney cancer and a digestive-tract cancer. The drug managed sales of $847 million last year, up 46% year over year. But most of that increase came from outside the United States. Sales were up just 7% in the U.S., as the drug has a lot of competition from Onyx Pharmaceuticals'
Beyond that, the results are encouraging because they suggest that Sutent might be useful in treating other cancers -- breast, lung, colon, prostate, and liver. It's not a guarantee for success -- Nexavar didn't work for skin or lung cancer, for instance -- but it certainly should give Pfizer shareholders hope that Sutent might be able to approach the sales levels seen by Genentech's
Now Pfizer just needs a few more good results like this, and the ability to integrate a $68 billion purchase better than it has in the past, and it can get back to growing again -- post-Lipitor exclusivity, of course.
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Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. Pfizer is a former Income Investor selection. Apple is a choice at Stock Advisor. The Fool has a disclosure policy.