Investors were counting on torcetrapib to be approved before the patent expires by 2010 or 2011 on Lipitor, Pfizer's 13 billion-U.S.-dollar-a-year pill that reduces levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol, and make up for most of Lipitor's lost sales.
Pfizer shares plunged to about 20 dollars a year ago when Indian drugmaker Ranbaxy Laboratories Inc. said it would produce a generic form of Lipitor. But last December a federal judge upheld the validity of Lipitor's patents, and Pfizer's shares bounced back, closing on Friday at 27.86 dollars.
Torcetrapib in earlier clinical trials had boosted HDL cholesterol by 60 percent, raising hopes that it could greatly reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. But it caused slight elevations in blood pressure, itself a major risk of heart disease.
IPBiz is reminded of a statement by Turk Wendell in July 2003, after giving up a game-winning homerun to Sammy Sosa:
"It was a mediocre, get-me-over slider," said Wendell. "I threw it a couple times in the inning before. You live by it. You die by it. In a game like that, you can't let a guy like that beat you. That to me makes it worse because I did let their best player beat me. That's unacceptable."
Wendell refuses to dwell on it.
"What am I going to do? Come in tomorrow and hang myself?"