Investigators suspend trial of ZymoGenetics' drug

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