Pfizer's work with Weber on torcetrapib ends

NEW YORK: Pfizer's decision to halt the clinical trial of their promising heart disease drug torcetrapib means that Weber Shandwick's work in this area has come to a close, three months after the agency won the brief.

NEW YORK: Pfizer's decision to halt the clinical trial of their promising heart disease drug torcetrapib means that Weber Shandwick's work in this area has come to a close, three months after the agency won the brief.

"I can say that the decision to end the development program for torcetrapib means that we will not require Weber's support on the compound going forward," said Paul Fitzhenry, senior director of corporate media relations at Pfizer.

Weber Shandwick won the account following a month-long RFP process last August, and the contract was intended to last one year with a global reach. The agency beat out three other undisclosed agencies.

Torcetrapib was to be combined with atorvastatin, an active ingredient in Lipitor, for a next-generation combination statin torcetrapib/atorvastatin (T/A) that carried with it big expectations. Executives hoped it would prove to be the first drug to treat heart disease that both raised good cholesterol while lowering bad cholesterol.

Fitzhenry said that the decision would not affect WS' work with other drugs, such as the Lipitor and inhalable insulin Exubera accounts. WS won the Lipitor account about one month after the T/A assignment.

Pfizer had hoped to file for approval from the Food and Drug Administration in 2007, but scientists discovered mounting evidence that the drug actually caused an increase in deaths and heart problems.

WS declined to comment.

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