- Targacept and AstraZeneca (AZ) have been involved in numerous co-development projects for drugs in various therapeutic areas—and have been met with a string of failures. The most recent flop was TC-6683, which was being developed for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
- The two companies resolved a similar co-development project for a depression drug in April 2012.
- Targacept has downsized in response to other failures in the past—and now, it may have to downsize again.
Within the last three years, there have been three big failures for the Targacept-AZ R&D team, including two AD drugs and a depression drug. Based on trial design, the point of reference for efficacy of an AD drug was whether or not it was more effective than donepezil—the most commonly prescribed AD medication. Unfortunately, neither of the AD drugs hit this target.
Targacept has downsized in response to these setbacks, seeing its workforce dwindle from a high of 140 in 2012 to just 30 employees now. The company also faced a mid-year loss of nearly $20 million. Targacept does not intend to discontinue research in the areas of AD; however, it will shift its focus away from neuronal nicotinic receptors to another target.