Saturday, January 24, 2009

What happened to the guy who developed Lipitor?

Within an article concerning expected job cuts that will arise if Pfizer buys out Wyeth, one finds the text:

After several years of eliminating jobs that once totaled 3,600 at that company's [Warner-Lambert's] Ann Arbor, Mich., facility, Pfizer announced its closing in January 2007. Among those put out of work was Bob Sliskovic, a scientist credited with developing Lipitor.

[Recall Pfizer bought Warner-Lambert in 2000 for $116 billion to get patent rights on Lipitor.]

Drago Sliskovic is co-inventor on US 4,735,958 [issued 5 April 1988], titled Trans-6-[2-[2-(substituted-phenyl)-3- (or 4-) heteroaryl-5-substituted-1H-pyrrol-1-yl]-ethyl]tetrahydro-4-hydroxy-2H-p yran-2-one inhibitors of cholesterol biosynthesis, which in the background of the invention notes:

High levels of blood cholesterol and blood lipids are conditions involved in the onset of arteriosclerosis. It is well known that inhibitors of HMG-CoA reductase are effective in lowering the level of blood plasma cholesterol, especially low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), in man (cf. M. S. Brown and J. L. Goldstein, New England Journal of Medicine, 305, No. 9, 515-517 (1981). It has now been established that lowering LDL-C levels affords protection from coronary heart disease (cf. Journal of the American Medical Association, 251, No. 3, 351-374 (1984).

Moreover, it is known that certain derivatives of mevalonic acid (3,5-dihydroxy-3-methylpentanoic acid) and the corresponding ring-closed lactone form, mevalonolactone, inhibit the biosynthesis of cholesterol (cf. F. M. Singer et al., Proc. Soc. Exper. Biol. Med., 102: 270 (1959) and F. H. Hulcher, Arch. Biochem. Biophys., 146: 422 (1971)).

U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,983,140; 4,049,495 and 4,137,322 disclose the fermentative production of a natural product, now called compactin, having an inhibitory effect on cholesterol biosynthesis. Compactin has been shown to have a complex structure which includes a mevalonolactone moiety (Brown et al., J. Chem. Soc. Perkin I (1976) 1165.

Also within the Philly Inquirer article on the possible Pfizer takeover:

Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Inc. analyst Timothy Anderson predicted that Pfizer would cut 70 percent of Wyeth's current $10 billion budget for research and development, and for marketing and administrative expenses.

He based his estimates on an eventual sale price of $65 billion.

At the Wyeth Pharmaceuticals campus in Malvern yesterday, workers, most of whom declined to give their names, said they had heard almost nothing.

"It's just wait and see," one man said as he walked from one of the two red-brick-and-glass buildings to the parking lot. "There's very little information, so there is nothing to comment on." A woman said she viewed the news as positive because it offered opportunities to innovate.

Wyeth, based in Madison, N.J., completed a 7 percent reduction in its workforce late last year. Pfizer, based in New York, employs 83,400. The company has cut 15,000 jobs since January 2007 and is in the process of cutting more.

***See also

Pfizer lays off research scientists in face of Lipitor patent expiry

Of Richard K. Lyon, who once developed thermal de-NOx for Exxon, note


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