AstraZeneca has decided to discontinue development of an early-stage obesity drug, partnered with Palatin Technolgies, following a serious adverse event.

The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker halted a Phase I trial in June of AZD2820, a subcutaneously-administered peptide melanocortin-4 receptor partial agonist, after a patient suffered an allergic reaction. This prompted a review which could neither confirm or exclude that the problem was linked to the drug, but the investigation concluded it is unlikely the event was related to "melanocortin receptor activation as an approach for the treatment of obesity", Palatin said.

The subject has fully recovered from the adverse event, noted Palatin chief executive Carl Spana, noting that AZD2820 is part of a broader R&D pact. He added that "we have multiple classes of collaboration compounds in various stages of preclinical testing".

Furthermore, Dr Spana said "AstraZeneca has informed us that they remain committed to the advancement of collaboration compounds for treatment of obesity". The companies linked up in 2007 in a deal worth potentially $300 million to Palatin, which noted that its active development work under the collaboration portion of the agreement concluded in January 2010.