Glaxo hands back another cancer drug to Cytokinetics

GlaxoSmithKline is parting ways with Cytokinetics (CYTK) on another cancer drug development program. In what's billed as a mutual decision, GSK will hand back all rights to GSK-923295, which was being studied for hard-to-treat solid tumors. And that follows the earlier return of SB-743921 and SB-715992, which had also been licensed to GSK.

"It was a joint termination with GlaxoSmithKline ... that will allow us to focus our researchers on muscle biology, primarily in heart failure and skeletal muscle dysfunction," Chief Executive Robert Blum told Reuters. But don't look for Cytokinetics to put cancer back in the mix. The biotech dropped out of the cancer field and isn't returning to it. Blum added that the developer would be looking for a new partner to license the rights for all three oncology therapies, leaving Cytokinetics to be mostly a passive player.

The South San Francisco-based company's release emphasized both companies' satisfaction with the split, but investors weren't ready to accept that at face value. Cytokinetics shares dropped 17 percent in after-market trading. Cytokinetics is partnered with Amgen on the heart-failure program, which helped inspire rumors of a merger that the developer denied. 

- check out the Cytokinetics release
- here's the Dow Jones story
- and here's the Reuters report