Pfizer abandons two drugs that disappointed in trials

Pharma giant Pfizer is abandoning the development of two key drugs, saying that neither are demonstrating real benefits for patients. Pfizer turned over all rights to Daxas to Germany's Altana. Intended as a treatment for COPD and asthma, the drug - once picked as a potential blockbuster - has been a disappointment in trials. The news hit Altana's share price hard, sending its stock down 13% in early trading. The HIV drug capravirine also got the ax after two Phase II trials failed to nail down superior therapeutic benefits for patients compared to standard treatments. Capravirine's rights were returned to Japan's Shionogi.

The move to dump the two drugs was seen as a blow to Pfizer, which is looking to develop a new generation of drugs to replace big sellers like Bextra, which has been beset by safety questions.

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PLUS: Frankfurt-based Altana, though, said it still believed that Daxas can be successfully launched. CEO Nikolaus Schweickart said Altana has the cash to continue development alone. Story