There was disappointment for Eli Lilly this week after its experimental schizophrenia drug mGlu2/3 failed to meet its objectives in a Phase II trial.

mGlu2/3 (pomaglumetad methionil) is a glutamatergic-based agent that does not interact with the receptors thought to be responsible for many of the severe adverse events - such as motor dysfunction, reproductive hormone irregularity, weight gain and lipid elevation - associated with many current therapies.   

But data from the Phase II trial, which was pitted to be the first of two to support a regulatory filing for the drug, showed no difference in the primary endpoint between schizophrenia patients taking mGlu2/3 and those taking a placebo, in either the overall or predefined genetic sub-population. 

Furthermore, Lilly said that a difference was observed between the active control, Johnson & Johnson's Risperdal (risperidone), and placebo in both patient populations.

"Unfortunately negative studies are common in the field of psychiatry and a reality of biopharmaceutical innovation," said Jan Lundberg, executive vice president, science and technology, and president at Lilly Research Laboratories, commenting on the results.

ISI Group analyst Mark Schoenebaum reportedly said he did not expect the news to significantly hurt the company's stock as Wall Street expectations for the drug were low. And Indeed, Lilly's stock only slipped slightly in the hours after the news first broke.

A second trial of mGlu2/3 is currently underway and an interim analysis, as well as full results from the other study, which will be presented at a later date, the firm said.