US biotech Acorda Therapeutics is discontinuing development of its experimental Parkinson’s disease therapy tozadenant on concerns over patient safety.

The firm said it would stop dosing patients immediately after new information from the drug’s Phase II development programme regarding previously disclosed serious adverse events came to light.

Last week Acorda announced that it would up the frequency of blood cell count monitoring in participants taking part in tozadenant trials following reports of potentially drug-induced agranulocytosis and five patient deaths.

However, after analysing new information, the company said it could not be confident that weekly white blood cell count screening would sufficiently ensure patient safety.

“Patient safety is our top priority,” said Ron Cohen, Acorda’s president and chief executive. “While we are deeply disappointed by this outcome, we remain committed to the Parkinson’s community, which is in great need of new therapeutic options.”