October 7, 2010 / 2:09 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-Pfizer drug promising in mid-stage psoriasis study

* 197-patient study of tasocitinib

* Also in late-stage for rheumatoid arthritis

NEW YORK, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Pfizer Inc’s (PFE.N) experimental drug tasocitinib showed promise in a mid-stage clinical trial for psoriasis, the drugmaker said on Thursday.

The 197-patient, Phase 2 study of the oral drug, also known as CP-690,550, met the main efficacy goal. Patients in the trial had moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, which is characterized by red and scaly skin.

Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of psoriasis, which affects about 125 million worldwide, according to Pfizer.

Pfizer, the world’s largest drugmaker, is eager for new medicines as it faces massive sales declines when generic versions of its top-selling Lipitor cholesterol drug flood the market beginning next year.

Tasocitinib, a so-called JAK inhibitor, is also being tested for rheumatoid arthritis and is one its most promising experimental medicines in Pfizer’s late-stage pipeline.

Pfizer is planning to present Phase 3 data on the drug in rheumatoid arthritis at a medical conference in November, pending acceptance of the data by the conference, a spokeswoman said.

In the mid-stage psoriasis study, the most frequently reported adverse events were upper respiratory tract infection and headache. Three patients experienced more serious side effects.

Pfizer, which discovered the drug in its Groton, Connecticut, laboratories, has started a late-stage study of tasocitinib in people with chronic moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. It intends to enroll about 3,400 patients in the overall Phase 3 program for psoriasis.

Pfizer shares were up 0.5 percent to $17.35 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf, editing by Dave Zimmerman

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