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May 19, 2011
Avandia Goes Out
So Avandia (rosiglitazone) will be pulled from the market this fall. I've already written a few pieces on that whole market - PPAR ligands - but this still makes a person think. (See this post for the whole list). Starting in the mid-1990s or so, a huge amount of time, effort, and money went into PPAR alpha, gamma, and delta compounds. (In the interests of full disclosure, some of that effort was mine). And a lot of the interest was sparked by the possibilities of rosiglitazone (and its cousin pioglitazone, sold as Actos, which remains on the market). This was the first mechanism that looked to actually target some of the underlying defects in Type II diabetes, although no one was sure quite how. And "Rosi" was the PPAR-gamma ligand that all others were compared to in the labs.
But now it's gone, and the PPAR field is comparatively moribund. Glaxo, SmithKline (before the merger), Merck, Lilly, BMS, Bayer, Kyorin, Ligand - all these companies and many others poured resources into the field, and here's what we're left with: the three earliest PPAR_gamma compounds made it through, and now two of them (troglitazone left early) are gone. So one gamma ligand, one alpha (fenofibrate, the one that everyone started with), and no delta. None of the combinations (and boy, were there a lot of them) every made it, either. Two drugs out of the whole field, and neither of them discovered after the target-based approach kicked in. Yikes. And people still want to know why their prescriptions cost so much.
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