Deals, R&D

An ailing AstraZeneca kicks two drugs out of the pipeline and an ex-drug partner’s share price is blasted

Richard Marsden

Last October Synairgen saw its shares clobbered by the news that its Big Pharma partner AstraZeneca had scrapped a mid-stage study of their inhaled interferon beta therapy AZD9412. The drug was designed to prevent crises for asthmatics during cold season, but a low number of exacerbations was making it impossible to see whether or not it was hitting the primary endpoint.

Today, AstraZeneca $AZN used its quarterly roundup — focused primarily on rapidly falling revenue — to silently toss the drug, citing “strategic” reasons. And it also threw out AZD3412, a myeloperoxidase inhibitor in mid-stage testing for Parkinson’s that GlobalData had held out as a significant hope in that field.

Synairgen shares tanked once again on the setback, plunging 46%.

The UK-based Synairgen, though, isn’t giving up, even though this therapy failed an earlier mid-stage study. CEO Richard Marsden noted:

We remain positive about the potential of inhaled interferon beta, particularly for patients with COPD who suffer due to respiratory viruses. Once we have completed the data analysis, we will provide an update on the programme and our plans for future development.

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