August 19, 2009

Lilly pulls plug on osteoporosis drug

The Indiana pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly has announced a potential treatment for osteoporosis had disappointing results in a five-year clinical trial.

Lilly officials said Tuesday it will not apply to federal regulators for approval of arzoxifene, the Indianapolis Star reported.

The announcement is a setback for Lilly. Like other pharmaceutical companies, Lilly has been struggling to find replacements for drugs losing patent protection.

Evista, the company's current osteoporosis drug, goes off-patent in 2014, and arzoxifene had been touted as a replacement.

Officials said the clinical trial showed arzoxifene reduces the risk of spine fractures and of breast cancer in women who have been through menopause. But in a number of other areas, including fractures in other locations, the drug performed no better than a placebo.