South San Francisco-based Catalyst Biosciences, which has kept a low profile in recent years, has jumped back into the spotlight with a reverse merger with Targacept, the beleaguered North Carolina biotech that suffered a long string of embarrassing failures in the clinic.
After 9 years of fruitless work on treatments for Alzheimer's disease and depression, AstraZeneca is dissolving its partnership with Targacept, leaving the battered biotech to pick up the pieces of its dwindling pipeline.
On Monday, Targacept reported that its midstage effort aimed at salvaging its lead drug flopped. Once partnered with AstraZeneca, which saw four late-stage studies for the one-time depression drug TC-5214 hopeful sour, Targacept says it's finally ready to dump the therapy after it failed in a Phase IIb study for overactive bladder.
Targacept kept the faith in its late-stage Alzheimer's disease drug after ex-partner AstraZeneca walked away from the treatment, but a new mid-stage failure has forced the biotech to pull the plug on TC-1734.
AstraZeneca is again turning its back on some projects developed alongside Targacept, handing back several preclinical assets but holding onto a once-promising Alzheimer's disease treatment that may have some use in another indication.
After a steady drumbeat of setbacks over the past two years, the Winston-Salem, NC-based biotech says it will tamp down the last spade of dirt on TC-5619 after the therapy--which already failed a study for ADHD--flunked the primary as well as secondary endpoints in a Phase IIb study for schizophrenia.
AstraZeneca has further culled the ranks of its experimental CNS meds. The London-based drug giant cut ties with two programs from its U.S. partner Targacept, including one compound in mid-stage development for mild to moderate cases of Alzheimer's disease, while gaining unfettered development options for a group of other Targacept candidates.
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A string of setbacks in the clinic and on the business front has forced troubled Targacept to once again take out the budget ax. This time management aimed at the company's laboratory as execs cut back on the burn yet again to help conserve a considerable cache of cash.
A very bad year for Targacept just got worse. The biotech announced this morning that a mid-stage study of its program for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder--ADHD--failed to achieve statistical significance.