AstraZeneca sinks on late-stage trial failure

AstraZeneca is abandoning its late-stage therapy for stroke after a clinical trial failed to demonstrate any significant benefit over a placebo. NYX-059 was considered one of the company's biggest and brightest hopes for achieving blockbuster status and its failure at this stage sent AstraZeneca shares down. CEO David Brennan has been scrambling to come up with some new approvals for AstraZeneca, but so far has failed to produce. The focus now shifts to AGI-1067 for narrowed arteries, which is expected to be put up for FDA approval next year. Even so, analysts say that AstraZeneca is facing a long shot at gaining approval for AGI-1067. This latest trial failure follows fiascos with Iressa for lung cancer along with the anti-coagulant Exanta and Galida.

The news proved a disaster for Renovis, which had licensed the therapy to AstraZeneca. Its shares lost three quarters of their value after the news hit. "Unfortunately, the data are clear and although we will continue to review the results (from the study), we understand AstraZeneca's decision to discontinue development," said Renovis President and Chief Executive Corey S. Goodman.

- read the AFX report on AstraZeneca
- check out the AP report on a stunned Renovis

PLUS: Royalty Pharma has acquired royalty rights to Humira held by CAT, an AstraZeneca subsidiary, for $700 million. Release