Eli Lilly to write off schizophrenia drug

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Eli Lilly's dog days of summer continue. The company said Wednesday that it was dropping its Phase III schizophrenia drug because a futility analysis of the second Phase III study of the drug was “unlikely to be positive in its primary efficacy endpoints if enrolled to completion."

The news followed the company's July announcement that a Phase II study involving use of the drug, mGLU2/3, as an add-on therapy with atypical psychotics also missed its targets.

This setback marks the third ding for the company's pipeline and in-line products in a very brief span. Lilly said Monday that its anti-platelet drug Effient failed in an attempt to show an edge over generic Plavix. That news was preceded by Friday's announcement that the experimental Alzheimer's drug solanezumab failed to show progress on two criteria -- global and cognitive function -- but may continue to be tested.

Lilly said the aborted Phase III development of mGLU2/3 will surface as a third-quarter R&D charge of between $25 million and $30 million, pretax. The company said the charge will not affect its guidance for 2012.

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