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"Star Wars": Chewbacca's Revenge on Pfizer

Wednesday, 19 Sep 2007 | 1:59 PM ET
Chewbacca
Chewbacca

I'm fully aware that this story actually broke yesterday, and was picked up by a couple of competitors, but after receiving today's morning research note from Miller Tabak healthcare analyst Les Funtleyder, I couldn't resist writing this post.

I suspect Les is a "Star Wars" fan because his notes to clients, with all due respect, are often rife with spelling errors and typos, and he got the counterintuitive spelling of "Wookiee" correct. More on that in a moment.

(Full disclosure: I am not a "Star Wars" fan and I had to google Wookiee to double-check the spelling.)

Pfizer makes an antifungal drug called "Vfend" (weird name for a drug, don't you think?). The company says second-quarter worldwide sales of the drug were up 23% to $145 million.

At a scientific conference in Chicago this week, a researcher presented the results of a study showing that 12% of the people who take Vfend start seeing things. Like Chewy. Yep, the scientist told doctors at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy meeting that one patient claims to have had visions of Wookiees after taking Vfend.

So here's Les' hilarious take on all this: "Included in the reported visions was at least one sighting of a Wookiee (presumably Chewbacca). We make the following observations: what is wrong with seeing Wookiees? We are making no changes to our 2007 $700 million sales forecast for Vfend, and continue to believe that sales for the drug can grow at a 10% clip over the next few years. We do not see future FDA action in terms of a black-box Wookiee warning or an FDA Wookiee panel."

May the Pforce be with Pfizer.

Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com

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