Palatin’s obesity and diabetes drug program partner AstraZeneca has decided to drop further development of one of the partnered anti-obesity candidates, AZD2820, after a patient involved in a Phase I clinical trial with the peptide melanocortin-4 receptor partial agonist suffered a serious adverse event. Palatin says AstraZeneca’s investigation couldn’t exclude the possibility that the serious adverse event was linked to AZD2820, but concluded it was unlikely that it was related to melanocortin receptor activation.

The firm maintains AstraZeneca has reiterated its continued commitment to the collaboration, which includes multiple classes of compounds at various stages of preclinical testing. AstraZeneca and Palatin inked their exclusive research collaboration and license agreement centered on melanocortin receptor-targeting compounds for treating obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome back in 2007. AstraZeneca is responsible for product commercialization, product discovery, and development costs. Palatin will receive development, regulatory, and sales milestones, plus royalties.

Palatin is focused on the development of drugs that modulate activity of the melanocortin and natriuretic peptide receptor systems. Lead compound bremelanotide is a melanocortin agonist undergoing Phase IIb clinical trials for the treatment of female sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women.

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