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Lower dose of Pfizer-Lilly painkiller misses main goals in late stage study

April 18 (Reuters) - A lower dose of non-opioid painkiller developed by Pfizer Inc and Eli Lilly and Co failed to meet main goals in a late-stage study in patients with moderate-to-severe osteoarthritis of the hip or knee, the companies said on Thursday.

The drug, tanezumab, belongs to a new category of pain medications that target nerve growth factor, a protein involved in the growth of nerve cells, and has been touted as a potential blockbuster.

The study tested the treatment in two doses, 2.5 mg and 5 mg, comparing the long-term joint safety and effectiveness at the end of 16 weeks with painkillers that are normally prescribed to patients.

The higher dose of the treatment met two of the three main goals, in which it reduced pain and improved physical function.

There were 10 deaths in the study, of which nine occurred in a group of patients who were given tanezumab. None were considered treatment-related, the companies said.

Share of Pfizer Inc fell 1.2 percent at $38.90 in extended trading, while shares of Eli Lilly were marginally down. (Reporting by Aakash Jagadeesh Babu in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)