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Biogen/ Vernalis call halt to Parkinson's drug

Biogen and Vernalis are discontinuing development of the drug vipadenant for Parkinson's disease, due to "findings in preclinical toxicology studies"

Biogen and Vernalis are discontinuing development of the drug vipadenant for Parkinson's disease, although it achieved positive results in phase II studies, due to "findings in preclinical toxicology studies". However, work on a next-generation compound is likely to go into phase 1 studies in early 2011.

Biogen will continue to fund all development costs under the collaboration and Vernalis said it can earn milestones and royalties on the successful development of the next-generation compound, "to the extent that milestones have not already been paid for vipadenant".

Vipadenant is an adenosine A2A receptor antagonist. Experts believe that A2A receptor antagonists could have advantages over conventional dopaminegic strategies. They may be able to help restore motor function in patients with Parkinson's disease, without the side effects, such as nausea and dyskinesia (uncontrolled movement), associated with current treatments.

Vipadenant is one of a small number of adenosine A2A receptor antagonists currently in development by major pharmaceutical companies and their partners.

From their London headquarters, Vernalis's chief executive, Ian Garland said that they were "of course, disappointed" about vipadenant, but hopes are still high for its novel A2A receptor antagonist programme with a next-generation Vernalis compound.

19th July 2010

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