Pfizer's Innovative Oncology Division Is Right on Target

Diane West
Published: Thursday, Jun 03, 2010

At the 101st American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, in April, Pfizer presented a broad overview of its current oncology pipeline. This includes investigating new indications for approved drugs like sunitinib (Sutent) and novel agents like axitinib and crizotinib. Pfizer said it has 31 oncology drugs in the pipeline, and Jamie Christensen, MD, director of Translational Research at the company, said he expects several to come to market in the next 3 to 5 years.


Sunitinib Being Explored in Other Cancers 

A day after the close of the AACR meeting, Pfizer announced that it was discontinuing the SUN 1170 phase III open-label study of sunitinib malate (Sutent) in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The trial was discontinued after a review by the independent Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) confirmed “a higher incidence of serious adverse events in the sunitinib arm compared to the sorafenib [Nexavar] arm,” Pfizer said in a press release. In addition, the committee said sunitinib demonstrated neither superiority nor noninferiority to sorafenib in patients with advanced HCC. Sorafenib, manufactured by Onyx Pharmaceuticals and Bayer, is currently the only oral treatment known to extend life for people with HCC. 
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