AstraZeneca, AtheroGenics pipeline compound fails to meet trial goals

AstraZeneca and collaboration partner AtheroGenics said AGI-1067, an experimental drug in development for the treatment of atherosclerosis, fell short of its primary endpoint in a phase III clinical trial. AGI-1067 failed to meet its goals in rates of death, heart attack, stroke, bypass surgery, angioplasty and chest pain requiring hospitalization during a closely watched clinical trial of 6,100 patients dubbed ARISE. Both drugmakers plan to work together to fully analyze the results of the trial. Once the analysis is complete, AstraZeneca has a 45-day period to decide whether or not to continue with the collaboration, as agreed upon under terms of the license and collaboration deal with AtheroGenics. Had AGI-1067 been successful, it could have generated sales of as much as $5 billion, some analysts had predicted. Success of AGI-1067 is considered crucial to the future of AtheroGenics, which has no other marketed products. AstraZeneca had agreed to pay up to $1 billion for an exclusive worldwide license for the drug. AGI-1067 was also considered important to AstraZeneca’s future as the company seeks to replenish a depleted pipeline, suffering most recently from the failure of stroke treatment NXY-069 in October. Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley analyst Jami Rubin said Friday that AstraZeneca’s Crestor did not significantly reduce plaque in the carotid artery in a clinical trial, missing an opportunity to distinguish itself from rivals. Rubin drew her conclusions from an abstract of the highly awaited METEOR trial sponsored by AstraZeneca. Specific data from the trial are scheduled to be presented March 25 at a meeting of The American College of Cardiology in New Orleans.