There's more bad news for ZymoGenetics' experimental drug atacicept this morning. The developer (ZGEN) announced that Merck Serono has decided to suspend clinical trials of the drug as a treatment for multiple sclerosis after an independent data monitoring committee picked up an increase in disease activity in the treatment arm.
Just a little more than two weeks ago Merck Serono announced that the drug failed to achieve its goal for controling rheumatoid arthritis in mid-stage trials. The developer said in a statement that the drug did not meet the "pre-specified level of disease control activity to support moving directly into Phase III clinical testing." Merck Serono also in-licensed the therapy for lupus, but suspended a trial for that disease back in October.
Xconomy notes that ZymoGenetics handed over full development responsibilities for the drug to Merck Serono a year ago as it scaled down on its expenses. The Seattle-based developer accepted a smaller share of future royalties in exchange for eliminating development costs on a drug then headed into late-stage trials.
- read the story from Reuters