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New pain drug from Pfizer and Eli Lilly shows promise as opioid alternative

A pain medication being developed by pharmaceutical giants Pfizer Inc. and Eli Lilly & Co. showed promise in a large clinical trial as a treatment for osteoarthritis, the companies said late Tuesday.

The trial’s safety results will likely be a particular focus of investor scrutiny. In clinical trials held years ago, individuals with osteoarthritis had their conditions worsen while taking this class of drugs. For Pfizer PFE, -0.61% and Eli Lilly’s LLY, -1.46% drug, tanezumab, that concern and a related clinical hold delayed development by several years.

Of nearly 700 patients enrolled in the phase 3 trial, about 1.3% taking tanezumab showed rapidly progressive osteoarthritis, which was not observed in patients treated with a placebo.

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