British group BTG saw it's stock take a downward turn this morning after revealing that CytoFab failed to meet its targets in a mid-stage trial assessing its potential as a treatment for sepsis, causing partner AstraZeneca to step away from its development.

The London-based firm unveiled top-line results from a Phase IIb study conducted by AstraZeneca which compared two doses of CytoFab (polyclonal ovine anti-TNF antibody fragments) with a placebo in patients with severe sepsis and/or septic shock.

However, treatment with the drug failed to show any significant improvements versus placebo with regard to either the primary endpoint of ventilator-free days or secondary endpoints such as mortality.

Because of this, AstraZeneca has decided pull the plug on any further development of the drug in this setting, and has handed the asset back to BTG, which also said it does not anticipate carrying out development further work in light of the findings.

“These results are obviously disappointing, as the treatment of severe sepsis remains a major unmet need," said BTG's chief executive Louise Makin.

The also firm said it expects to take a charge of around £28 million in the current financial year, of which £25 million relates to a non-cash impairment of intangible and tangible fixed assets.

BTG's shares had dropped nearly 4% in morning trading on the London Stock Exchange.