Low dose Pfizer-Lilly painkiller fails late stage study

April 19, 2019

A lower dose of non-opioid painkiller, tanezumab, developed by Pfizer and Eli Lilly failed to meet main goals in a late-stage study in patients with moderate-to-severe osteoarthritis.

Touted as a potential blockbuster, tanezumab belongs to a new category of pain medications that target nerve growth factor, a protein involved in the growth of nerve cells.

The higher dose of the drug met two of the three main goals -- reducing pain and improved physical function. But when tested in 2.5 mg and 5 mg doses, comparing the long-term joint safety and effectiveness at the end of 16 weeks against NSAIDs in patients with moderate-to-severe osteoarthritis of the hip or knee, the drug fell short.

“We are analyzing these findings in the context of the recent Phase 3 results as we assess potential next steps for tanezumab,” said Ken Verburg, tanezumab development team leader, Pfizer Global Product Development. “We plan to review the totality of data from our clinical development program for tanezumab with regulatory authorities.”

Read the press release.