Phase III osteoarthritis pain trial is a winner for Pfizer

Pfizer ran the table in a late-stage study of tanezumab, a protein inhibitor that the pharma giant is touting as a leading contender to go on to become the world's first approved biologic for pain.

The pharma giant recruited 690 patients for the trial who suffered from chronic knee pain from osteoarthritis but were either unable to take an NSAID pain therapy or its Cox-2 inhibitor Celebrex or didn't benefit sufficiently from the meds. Patients in all three dose groups--2.5 mg, 5 mg and 10 mg--reported a statistically significant reduction in pain compared with a placebo, according to Reuters. And the patients also demonstrated a significant improvement in physical function as well as higher scores for feeling better than before therapy. The Phase III study results are being presented at the European League Against Rheumatism meeting in Rome.

"What we've seen so far in terms of Phase II trials and this first Phase III trial has impressed upon us that this drug has some extraordinary efficacy benefits," study leader Mark Brown tells Reuters.

Pfizer has high hopes for tanezumab, an antibody that was selected as one of its top drug prospects during a pipeline review in the spring of 2009. The antibody targets nerve growth factor and had already registered promising data in mid-stage trials. The fresh set of positive data is good news for Xoma, which licensed antibody technology used in developing the tanezumab program and stands to earn royalties in the event of an approval.

- here's the story from Reuters