LONDON (Reuters) - AstraZeneca
has thrown in the towel on an experimental antidepressant licensed from Targacept after remaining late-stage clinical trials failed, dealing a fresh - but widely expected - blow to its pipeline.
Britain's second-biggest drugmaker will take an impairment charge of $50 million, representing the rest of the value of TC-5214, which has already seen earlier write downs after two previous Phase III studies also missed their targets.
TC-5214 had initially been deemed a potential big seller as the first in a new class of medicines that work by calming nicotine receptors in the brain.
AstraZeneca agreed to pay as much as $1.24 billion for rights to TC-5214 in 2009, including an upfront payment of $200 million. The drug had been one of the few potential bright spots in its pipeline but hopes for the product slumped when the first two trials failed in November and December last year.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)