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Pfizer Downplays Results From Resveratrol Drug

Pfizer Downplays Results From Resveratrol Anti-Aging Drug [The Day, New London, Conn.]

From Day, The (New London, CT) (December 3, 2010)

Dec. 03--It looks as if Pfizer Inc. researchers in Groton may have been right to downplay the effect of a chemical called resveratrol -- a key component of red wine -- in slowing the aging process.

Earlier this year, Pfizer scientists, led by Kay Ahn, published an article in the Journal of Biological Chemistry that called into question previous research suggesting compounds like resveratrol may directly boost an enzyme that slows down the aging process.

"Under our conditions we didn’t see beneficial effects," Ahn said at the time.

The research caused a stir because Pfizer’s competitor GlaxoSmithKline had bet $720 million on the beneficial effects of resveratrol when it bought the Massachusetts-based Sirtris in 2008 and took over development of a drug called SRT501.

Glaxo confirmed this week that it had stopped work on the drug, a form of resveratrol, after disappointing results in a midstage clinical trial during which several patients experienced kidney failure.

Some researchers have tied resveratrol, which can be found in the skin of red grapes, to the activation of an enzyme that protects cells from the damage of aging. But the Glaxo resveratrol studies appear to boost the position of other scientists who have said the human body responds better to resveratrol delivered in a glass of wine than in pill form.

Glaxo has other experimental compounds from Sirtris in development that use proteins known as SIRT1, or sirtuins, against such diseases as cancer and diabetes.

"Going forward," Glaxo said in a statement to the blog FiercePharma, "we’ve decided to focus our efforts on more selective SIRT1 activator compounds that have no chemical relationship to SRT501 and more favorable drug-like properties."

Glaxo said it had no plans to continue its SRT501 program.

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Posted: December 2010