Another pipeline setback for AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca unveiled a delay in the development of the sepsis treatment Cytofab, less than a year after purchasing the drug to boost its product pipeline. AstraZeneca will conduct further intermediate Phase II clinical trials for Cytofab, which it licensed from the British biotech firm Protherics in a $372 million deal last December. The move could delay the progress of CytoFab by 21 months AstraZeneca spokesman Steve Brown told Reuters. “But that 21 months might come down if we can shorten the timelines in Phase III, given what we do in the additional Phase II program,” Brown said. AstraZeneca had originally planned to start Phase III trials in 2007 and file the drug with regulators sometime after 2008. The announcement comes a week after AstraZeneca scrapped its developmental stroke drug NXY-059, which showed no effect versus placebo in a large clinical trial. Earlier this year, AstraZeneca halted development of two other pipeline hopefuls–the blood-thinner Exanta, which failed to win FDA approval in 2004 because of liver concerns and Type II diabetes drug Galida, following cancer and heart failure concerns.