Pfizer is ending a partnership with Biotie to develop schizophrenia treatments, the Finnish drugmaker has revealed.

The Turku-based group says that the discovery phase of its research collaboration and licence agreement with Pfizer regarding phosphodiesterase 10 inhibitors for schizophrenia will end in June. Under the terms of the agreement, the New York-based giant has been funding Biotie's research activities on the PDE10 inhibitor programme since the end of 2006 and has the sole rights to developing discovered compounds. To date, one has gone into preclinical development.

Timo Veromaa, Biotie’s chief executive, said the firms have succeeded in finding innovative molecules for the treatment of schizophrenia, “a disease area which has seen very few advances, especially in new mechanisms such as PDE10, over the last few decades”. He added that the partnership has provided “further validation of our PDE platform technology”.

Now that the Pfizer pact is ending, Biotie has still got a fair bit to keep its researchers busy. It recently reported positive Phase I data from its VAP-1 antibody BTT-1023 for rheumatoid arthritis and the drug is also in an ongoing study in psoriasis. Roche has options on the treatments.

Biotie will also be hoping that nalmefene, which is licensed to Lundbeck and is in Phase III trials for alcohol dependence, will come up with promising results by the end of 2010.