Deal, which began in 2001, produced one atherosclerosis candidate, which subsequently failed in Phase I.

Wyeth has decided that starting September 1 it will take over full responsibility for all future R&D activities under its discovery partnership with Karo Bio. The primary objective was to identify and select development candidates that target the liver X receptor (LXR).

The arrangement between the firms, which started out in 2001 with a three-year term, has gone through five one-year extensions. The initial focus was on artherosclerosis, and the firms reported bringing one candidate from the alliance into clinical development in August 2006.

About a year later, though, Wyeth cancelled development. While LXR-623 demonstrated efficacy on biomarkers for atherosclerosis, it had an unfavorable profile for further development, the companies said. In November 2008, the focus was changed to inflammatory diseases.

Under current revisions to the terms of the deal, Wyeth will perform all future R&D, and Karo Bio will not put any more internal resources into the project. Karo will therefore not receive any further research funding from Wyeth, according to Per Olof Wallström, president and CEO of Karo Bio.

The firms’ related collaboration, research, and license agreement remains intact. “The terms of the 2001 agreement are confidential but include the typical elements of a deal with up-front, research collaboration, milestones, and royalties,” explains Wallström. “Wyeth continues to produce compounds, and a development compound covered by the agreement will produce benefits for Karo Bio.

“Karo Bio’s short-term focus is on eprotirome, our Phase II compound for lowering blood lipids,” Wallström continues. Additionally, the firm will focus on its type 2 diabetes drug currently in Phase I as well as its ER beta agonist program, which is at the drug discovery stage for the treatment of depression, cancer, and inflammatory diseases. Karo is also collaborating with Zydus Cadilla on GR modulators for inflammation.

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