Pfizer halts Phase III cancer trial on poor results

Pfizer's big push into cancer drugs has hit a snag. The company announced that it is halting a late-stage trial of tremelimumab for advanced melanoma after researchers concluded it was no more effective than standard chemotherapy. More data from the clinical development of the drug will be revealed at the annual ASCO meeting in June. The move to shutter the trial follows Pfizer's decision to beef up its R&D spend on cancer therapies from 12 percent of its budget to 20 percent. And Pfizer has every intention of staying focused on the field as well as tremelimumab.

"Although this outcome is disappointing, Pfizer remains committed to investigating new treatment options for patients with melanoma, a high-risk area of research with significant unmet medical need," said Dr. Charles Baum of Pfizer Global Research and Development. "We continue to focus on additional studies involving tremelimumab alone and in combination with other therapies which are currently ongoing in patients with several types of cancer."

- see Pfizer's release
- read the report in the Wall Street Journal

ALSO: The news from Pfizer stung at Medarex after analysts concluded that a failure for tremelimumab also spelled trouble for another partnership it has with BMS to develop ipilimumab. Its stock dropped 14 percent. Report