Pfizer gave nonprofits $2.1 million in grants in 2008 for medical courses about the pain-and-fatigue ailment fibromyalgia for which its Neurontin follow-up pill, Lyrica, just happens to be approved.
Lyrica (pregablin), facetiously called Son of Neurontin at Pfizer, was discovered by Northwestern University chemist Richard Silverman in 1989, earning the university a cool $700 million when it sold royalties in late 2007.
It is funding the $100 million Richard and Barbara Silverman Hall for Molecular Therapeutics & Diagnostics, under construction now, which will employ 245 faculty, staff and research assistants and hopefully lead to other promising molecules.
Like Neurontin (gabapentin), Lyrica (Pregablin) is an antiepilepsy drug (AED) that modulates calcium channels to dampen the excitability of nerve endings and seizure activity. And, like Neurontin which made $3 billion a year from unapproved uses like bipolar disorder, attention deficit disorder and restless legs syndrome, Pfizer has high hopes for its "crossover appeal."