A registered nurse at the Altoona Center for Clinical Research in Duncansville, PA begins the process of preparing refrigerated doses of Pfizer's Lyme disease vaccine (Gary M. Baranec/AP Images)

Pfiz­er was warned of Ly­me study prob­lems months ago, tri­al re­search star­tup's CEO tells em­ploy­ees

A con­tract re­search start­up work­ing on Pfiz­er’s Ly­me vac­cine tri­al alert­ed the drug­mak­er to prob­lems with the study last year, but was told to keep the work mov­ing to avoid rais­ing pub­lic con­cerns about vac­cine safe­ty, the start­up’s CEO has pri­vate­ly told em­ploy­ees in re­cent days.

Up un­til last week, Reify Health’s tri­als busi­ness, Care Ac­cess, was run­ning more than half the US sites for Pfiz­er’s fi­nal-stage Ly­me tri­al, and had en­rolled thou­sands of peo­ple. In the days since Pfiz­er yanked the rich­ly val­ued start­up off the work, Reify CEO Ralph Pas­sarel­la has told em­ploy­ees that his com­pa­ny months ago asked to pause its por­tion of the tri­al while it in­ves­ti­gat­ed is­sues.

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