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Pfizer Plans Coronavirus Therapy, Progresses With Tanezumab BLA

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Pfizer Inc. (PFE - Free Report) announced that it has identified certain antiviral compounds, which were already in development, with potential to treat coronavirus-affected people. The company is currently engaged in screening the compounds. It is planning to initiate clinical studies on these compounds by year-end, following any positive results, expected by this month end.

In the wake of rising coronavirus infection in the United States and across the globe, several large and small pharma/biotech are engaged in developing a vaccine or a treatment. Globally, Covid-19 has already infected more than 90,000 people and the death toll has crossed the 3000-mark. Coronavirus has infected more than 90 people in the United States and caused six deaths. The World Health Organization (“WHO”) declared Covid-19 as a global emergency on Jan 30. The WHO and other global organizations and government authorities are actively participating in developing treatment for Covid-19 and spreading awareness to avoid infection.

The U.S. federal authorities met several pharma/biotech companies on Monday to discuss the progress of any treatment for Covid-19. The Trump administration urged companies to collaborate for accelerated development of a vaccine. Representatives from various companies at the meeting suggested 12 to 18 month timeline for a safe and tested vaccine to be available in the market. However, antiviral treatments, which are already being developed for other viral infections, are expected to get faster approval and may lead to earlier availability of Covid-19 treatment.

Currently, AbbVie’s (ABBV - Free Report) HIV drug, Kaletra, is being administered to coronavirus-affected patients in China. Gilead (GILD - Free Report) initiated two phase III studies last month to evaluate its antiviral candidate, remdesivir, as a treatment for Covid-19. Pipeline candidates of other companies are in earlier stages of development.

In the past year, shares of Pfizer have declined 19% compared with the industry’s decrease of 2.5%.

Meanwhile, Pfizer issued a press release on Mar 2 announcing the FDA acceptance of a biologics license application ("BLA") seeking approval for subcutaneous administration of tanezumab in patients with chronic pain due to moderate-to-severe osteoarthritis (“OA”). A decision is expected in December 2020. The company has collaboration with Eli Lilly (LLY - Free Report) for the development and commercialization of the candidate.

The BLA included data from 39 clinical studies, including three late-stage studies, which evaluated tanezumab in patients with moderate-to-severe OA. Data from these studies have shown that treatment with tanezumab led to statistically significant improvement in pain, physical function and the respective patients’ overall assessment of their OA.

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Pfizer currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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