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Pfizer invests in oncology for future gains

Published on 16/05/08 at 12:36pm

Pfizer has named Garry Nicholson as head of its new global oncology unit, a venture the company believes will bring opportunities growth as well as strengthening its research base in cancer care.

The announcement comes just as IMS Health predicts sales of cancer drugs will grow at nearly double the rate of the global pharmaceutical market, and could reach 80 billion dollars by 2012.

Mr Nicholson previously spent more than 10 years as executive director of Lilly's US Oncology Business Unit and said he was excited about his move to Pfizer.

"I believe Pfizer has the most promising and extensive oncology pipeline in the industry and look forward to leading this important new business," he added.

Pfizer said its new oncology business unit will help it speed up the launches of novel oncology agents, and plans to focus research on cancers common in Asia, including those of the liver, oesophagus and nasopharynx.

So far Pfizer's only cancer technology on the market is Sutent, which has been approved to treat patients with kidney cancer and gastrointestinal stromal tumours.

It is also in trials for the treatment of breast, lung, and colorectal cancer, and works by cutting the blood supply to the cancer and directly inhibiting cellular reproduction.

In addition, Pfizer has two other novel agents in phase III registration studies and some other in earlier clinical development.

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