Pfizer Suspends Development on Diabetic Nerve Drug - TheStreet

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

suspended late-stage development of a drug for diabetic neuropathy after some patients developed liver toxicity at higher doses.

Analysts had given the drug, called zenarestat, a low probability of success, since an earlier Pfizer drug in the same developmental class, called aldose reductase inhibitors, also failed. "Aldose reductase inhibitors have traditionally had poor results,"

Lehman Brothers

wrote in a recent report. Pfizer shares were off 88 cents at $43.75 Friday morning.

The drug, a former

Warner-Lambert

drug that was licensed from Japan's

Fujisawa

, could have generated some $750 million a year in worldwide peak sales, Lehman forecast, with $450 million in the U.S. Pfizer purchased Warner-Lambert this year. The earlier Pfizer drug, called Alond, was suspended late last year, said Pfizer.

Diabetic neuropathy, a widespread condition causing nighttime pain for diabetics, has proven to be one of the most difficult conditions to treat. So far there is no drug on the market aimed at the condition, so the condition is considered a major market opportunity for drug companies, particularly as the incidence of diabetes and attendant complications grows in the U.S. and other Western countries.