Trouble for AZ as Amgen quits psoriasis blockbuster hopeful collab over suicide risk
- Researchers observed suicidal thoughts in subjects taking the drug brodalumab, for psorisis, and Amgen has subsequently determined that the safety challenges are too great to continue its collaboration with AstraZeneca on the drug.
- AZ can still decide to move forward with development of this therapy. This news is a big blow to the company, which was counting on billion dollar-plus sales of the therapy in order to help meet an ambitious revenue goal.
- Brodalumab is an IL-17 inhibitor. Some analysts believe the safety data could hit AZ's revenues by about 2% over the long term.
Brodalumab has been in late-stage clinical trials since 2014, for psoriasis, as well as other inflammatory conditions, including psoriatic arthritis and spondyloarthritis. Analysts had forecasted $2 billion in annual revenues, so ending the development pact represents an opportunity cost. Nonetheless, company executives determined that given the safety concerns, the drug's label would be very restrictive and perhaps not worth the effort.
This partnership dates back to April 2012, at which point Amgen and AZ partnered to develop and market several anti-inflammatory drugs. AstraZeneca's stock is down about 3% on the news.