Vernalis Parkinson's drug sinks on tox issues

Vernalis and partner Biogen Idec have halted development of the drug vipadenant (V2006/BIIB014), an A2A receptor antagonist program in development for the treatment of Parkinson's. Though the drug turned in positive results in a Phase II study, a review of findings in preclinical toxicology studies raised the possibility of side effects.

Vernalis and Biogen say they will refocus on an earlier-stage A2A pathway candidate, and plan to move that drug into Phase I studies next year. The news is a blow to both companies, which had hoped to advance vipadenant into Phase III trials in 2011. Vernalis and Biogen have been partnered on the A2A program since 2004.

"We are, of course, disappointed that development of vipadenant will be discontinued but are encouraged that Biogen Idec is to develop Vernalis' next generation compound as a potential novel treatment for this neurodegenerative disease," said Ian Garland, CEO of Vernalis, in a statement.

- see Vernalis' release
- check out the Reuters report for more