Pfizer halts epilepsy study on Lyrica efficacy

What does Big Pharma like better than a blockbuster? A bigger blockbuster. And that's just what Pfizer ($PFE) might find in its pain and seizure drug Lyrica. Based on early efficacy data, the company stopped a clinical trial of standalone Lyrica therapy in epilepsy patients; interim analysis had found "positive efficacy" for the drug as a treatment for partial seizures.

The trial's monitoring committee recommended ending the trial, which was supposed to carry on until mid-2012. "Pfizer has accepted the recommendation and has stopped the study," spokesman MacKay Jimeson told Bloomberg. More details about the study will be released later, the company said.

Lyrica is already approved as an add-on treatment for seizures. If the company decides to ask the FDA for a monotherapy indication--and the agency approves--the drug would have an even broader market. Lyrica brought in $3 billion in 2010, and reached $908 million in the second quarter alone.

- see the Bloomberg story
- check out the Wall Street Journal piece