Soured motavizumab deal triggers MedImmune suit against partner Abbott

Eight months after AstraZeneca ($AZN) wrote off a star program for motavizumab, along with $445 million, its MedImmune subsidiary in Maryland has fired off a nasty lawsuit against Abbott over their soured development pact for the RSV treatment.

Designed as a successor to Synagis, AstraZeneca gave up on motavizumab as a preventive therapy for RSV last December after regulators and FDA experts raised a number of questions about the therapy's potential risk and rewards in lowering the threat of respiratory tract infections in infants. A year ago the FDA handed MedImmune its second complete response letter for motavizumab, demanding more data ahead of any approval. According to the Baltimore Business Journal, MedImmune is now alleging that Abbott--which had a responsibility for developing the drug outside the U.S.--violated their development deal by throwing in the towel last March.

One of the sticking points, according to the Business Journal, is a provision in the deal that gives Abbott the right to obtain Synagis at a lower price for marketing outside the U.S. Now MedImmune wants to delay that pricing arrangement for at least another year.

A spokesperson for Abbott told the Business Journal that the company disagreed with MedImmune's interpretation of the pact and were trying to resolve the dispute.

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