ddn Online

The Blog of Drug Discovery News

Certriad just wasn’t valuable enough

It was just yesterday that I posted a short news article on the website about AstraZeneca and Abbott pulling the plug on their dyslipidemia drug Certriad (click here to read that), pretty much because the FDA had some questions about it, it seems they were worried it wouldn’t be quite as popular on the market because of those concerns if it got approved, and so it just wasn’t “commercially attractive” enough for them anymore.

I find myself of three minds about this development, quite frankly.

On the one hand, as a consumer (though I don’t need prescriptions much and hope I can continue that well past my middle age years), I’m not sure how I feel about the tactic of two companies putting their drugs together into a single combo pill as (presumably) a way to extend some patent protection time and keep getting name-brand-level payments for drugs that might otherwise be generic.

On the other hand, as a journalist who has focused on healthcare and medical areas most of my career, and now earns my living reporting on the business aspect of pharma and biotech, I understand the need for such companies to keep money flowing into their accounts, both to support the people who work for them and to fund important R&D (and, hopefully, take out ads in ddn, to be honest).

On the third hand (meaning I just borrowed one of my chief editor’s limbs or I’m a mutant), why does this drug have to be abandoned because it’s no longer quite as potentially profitable? With money already put into the effort, isn’t it worth the time and expense to address the FDA’s issues, whatever they are, and make some money off Certriad? Isn’t the goal to get useful therapies to patients and wasn’t this drug supposed to be both convenient and helpful for patients with mixed dyslipidemia?

I mean, companies are willing to tackle orphan drugs and neglected diseases even though the payoffs might not be as high, so what made Certriad so unattractive all of a sudden?

Mind you, I’m not pointing fingers at either company, because I don’t know what the contents of the FDA letter were, and last I heard, the companies hadn’t shared that information. But still, I shake my head and wonder why you just drop a drug that combines two already approved products because it just isn’t as “commercially attractive” anymore?


December 28, 2010 - Posted by | Corporate | , , ,


  1. Not “commercially attractive” means that the investment necessary to conduct the additional clinical trials required by the FDA is too high and on top of that there is a lot of uncertainty about clinical outcomes with this product (e.g. is it any better than rosuvastatin alone?).

    Comment by Andy Gold | January 4, 2011 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the input, Andy.

    What you’ve said is largely what I would assume in general about a drug if a company said that. I suppose it’s just that with two previously approved drugs in combination (as opposed to something purely experimental or de novo), it stood out as an odd choice to simply kill the program. In my mind, it seems like there must be some value/profit to be made here, even if extra trials were needed (which isn’t entirely clear if that was even the case).

    But, as I freely admit, I’m neither on the inside of this situation nor am I a businessperson, which is why I didn’t come down on any particular side of the argument strongly.

    Hope to see more of you around the blog as we break news and vent opinions/thoughts.

    Comment by Jeffrey Bouley, ddn Managing Editor | January 4, 2011 | Reply

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