Former Pfizer R&D head says no Amarin deal shows Big Pharma avoiding Vascepa

John LaMattina, the former head of Pfizer's (PFE) research and development globally, wrote in Forbes that if he was running an R&D organization, he would not invest in cardiovascular disease at the expense of rare diseases.

LaMattina explained, "Yes, CVD is the number one killer of Americans. However, we have numerous drugs to treat CVD: lipid-lowering drugs, anti-hypertensives, thrombolytics, etc. Furthermore, there are multiple mechanistically different drugs in each of these categories which can be used alone or in combination to help maximize treatment.

In addition, many of these drugs have been used for years and are now generic - which to payers means 'cheap'...Given this situation, it's no surprise that major pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and Sanofi, have abandoned CVD R&D." Further, in response to a tweet this morning, LaMattina said, "Big Pharma appears to have already voted on Vascepa by avoiding a deal for it - or Amarin itself."

Amarin's (AMRN) Vascepa, a type of omega-3 fatty acid, a fat found in fish oil, was just approved by the FDA as an adjunctive therapy to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events among adults with elevated triglyceride levels of 150 milligrams per deciliter or higher. Shares of Amarin are up 42c to $19.88 in morning trading.

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