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Pee Is For Pharma, Pfizer & Profits

Pharma Stocks
CNBC.com
Pharma Stocks

Critics have been saying for years that big pharma's been pi..., er, throwing away money on relatively unproductive research and development of new drugs.

But a new study shows urine could eventually provide a new revenue stream.

The findings of the clinical trial, which Pfizer helped pay for, are being published in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."

Researchers had 99 men between 18 and 64 years old pee in a cup.

Why 99? I have no idea.

All I can think of is the number of bottles of beer on the wall.

Anyway, the test subjects took acetaminophen, aka Johnson & Johnson's Tylenol.

And the clinical trial investigators had the men pee in a cup before they took the painkiller and for six hours afterwards.

They found a compound that comes from bacteria in the gut that presumably is a barometer of how each man metabolizes the Tylenol.

It gets rather complicated, but the researchers think the results could have future implications for figuring out who might respond to which drug.

The press release quotes a Pfizer VP of Research, Dr. Jeremy Everett, who says, "Although this is the first study of its kind and much further research is needed, this finding shows that in the future, researchers may need to consider human metabolic profiles as well as genetic profiles when choosing targets for drug discovery programs and when selecting patients for future clinical trials."

Healthy Horizons -- A Special Report
Healthy Horizons -- A Special Report

Imagine the liquidity this could provide for companies like Quest Diagnostics, Lab Corp of America and Bio-Reference Labs if the practice were ever widely adopted.

So, what's this promising field of research called? Well, you might say it's the "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" of science. It's called, "Pharmacometabonomics." Great. Good luck with that.

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Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com and follow me on Twitter at mhuckman

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