Anti-obesity drug class going extinct
In an unsurprising move, Pfizer calls it quits for its experimental cannabinoid receptor antagonist, CP-945,598, saying that despite an independent review that deemed the compound has the potential to be a safe and effective treatment for weight management, it will discontinue the development program based on changing regulatory perspectives on the risk/benefit profile of the CB-1 class - also, obesity is no longer part of Pfizer's R&D strategy (1"The Pink Sheet," Oct. 6, 2008, p. 20). Sanofi-Aventis also announced it is ceasing development activity for its CB-1 antagonist rimonabant; the firm pulled the drug in Europe, where it was marketed as Acomplia, after an EMEA committee concluded the psychiatric risks outweigh the benefits (2"The Pink Sheet" DAILY, Oct. 23, 2008). Earlier in October, Merck dropped development of taranabant, after effective doses turned up psychiatric side effects and didn't work as well in lower doses (3"The Pink Sheet," Oct. 6, 2008, p. 22)
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Merck's widely expected decision to drop its Phase III obesity candidate taranabant places further doubt on the tainted cannabinoid-1 receptor antagonist class, but it also places doubt on Merck's near-term pipeline