Eli Lilly has suffered a blow with the failure of its late-stage experimental schizophrenia therapy, after another disappointing performance in a clinical trial marked the end of its development in this setting.
The company said it has decided to stop ongoing clinical studies of pomaglumetad methionil, which is also known as mGlu2/3, in patients with schizophrenia, after an analysis concluded that the pivotal Phase III study, called HBBN, was unlikely to hit its targets, indicating that the medicine was not likely to be effective.
Just last month the group had reported that a Phase II study, which was assessing pomaglumetad methionil as an adjunctive treatment with atypical antipsychotics, had failed to meet its primary endpoint.
Lilly said it was 'disappointed' with the results, but stressed that there were no safety issues behind the move to stop the medicine's clinical development.
The decision will result in a third-quarter charge to R&D expense in the range of $25 million to $30 million (pre-tax), or around $0.02 per share (after-tax), the firm said, but added that its financial guidance for 2012 remains unchanged.
Experts were not expecting huge revenues for drug; ISI Group analyst Mark Schoenebaum recently forecast peak annual sales of around $250 million, according to Bloomberg, and it seems the effect of its failure on Lilly's stock is unlikely to be significant.
Nevertheless, the news marks a setback for the firm, which is facing significant erosion of sales in the coming years due to generic competition.