Pfizer has cleared out five early stage oncology drug tests from its pipeline, including three tests for utomilumab, as well as an acne drug.
Announced in its first-quarter pipeline update today, the discontinued cancer medications include:
- PF-06883541, a CD19 molecule targeted cytotoxicity CAR-T.
- Chemokine receptor 2 (CCR2) antagonist PF-04136309 (PDF), which had orphan status for pancreatic cancer in the U.S.
- Three trials for utomilumab, a CD137 agonist monoclonal antibody. The tests evaluated the drug both on its own and in combination with Merck’s PD-1 Keytruda, and with Kyowa Hakko Kirin's anti-CCR4 antibody (mogamulizumab).
All five trials were in phase 1.
Pfizer does have other combo tests for utomilumab, including more recently with Gilead-Kite Pharma’s CAR-T Yescarta.
The company is also stopping work on PF-06423264, an acetyl-Coenzyme A carboxylase alpha and beta inhibitor, which was in phase 1 tests for acne.
This isn't the first time Pfizer has axed a large section of its R&D projects. During its full-year results back in January, the Big Pharma announced it was backing out of work in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, after culling and selling off a series of unwanted assets from those two areas.
And during its Q1 earnings call this morning, the pharma's CEO Ian Read said, as many have in Big Pharma for a string of quarters now, that he does not see a need for a "transformative deal," or that there are any "reasonably priced" ops around. The focus is investing in the company's pipeline, although not across its recent cuts, of course.