Positive Results on GlycoMimetics/Pfizer Drug

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Pfizer’s (PFE) collaboration partner, GlycoMimetics, Inc. recently presented positive top-line phase II results on its sickle cell disease candidate, GMI-1070. The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted in patients with sickle cell disease experiencing vaso-occlusive crisis.

The study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy, safety and pharmacokinetics of GMI-1070. Results showed that patients receiving GMI-1070 demonstrated a reduction in the duration of vaso-occlusive crisis, reduction in the length of hospital stay and the use of narcotic pain relief.

Improvement was observed in both adult and pediatric patients with the occurrence of adverse event rates being comparable to placebo. Detailed study results will be presented at a scientific meeting.

We note that Pfizer and GlycoMimetics had entered into the collaboration agreement in Oct 2011. Per the terms of the agreement, Pfizer will be responsible for the further development and commercialization of GMI-1070. GlycoMimetics may receive up to $340 million in the form of upfront and milestone payments. It is also entitled to royalties on sales.

GMI-1070 has orphan drug as well as fast track status in the US. Sickle cell disease, one of the most prevalent genetic disorders in the US, affects more than 80,000 people.

Pfizer currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). While near-term earnings will be driven by cost cutting efforts and share repurchases, longer-term growth will depend on the success of drug development. Pfizer’s pipeline needs to deliver given the Lipitor loss of exclusivity and the upcoming loss of exclusivity on additional products in the next few years.

Currently, companies like UCB (UCBJF), Catalyst Pharmaceutical Partners Inc. (CPRX) and Astellas Pharma, Inc. (ALPMY) look attractive in the pharma space. While both UCB and Catalyst Pharma are Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stocks, Astellas is a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock.

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