Eli Lilly has suffered a setback in the lab after its lymphoma drug enzastaurin failed to met its survival goals in late-stage trials.

Specifically, the PRELUDE study, which explored enzastaurin as a monotherapy in the prevention of relapse in patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) failed to show a statistically significant increase compared to placebo in disease-free survival in patients at high risk of relapse following rituximab-based chemotherapy.

Lilly noted that there were no new safety findings, but has decided to stop development of enzastaurin, a kinase inhibitor of the PKC beta and AKT pathways. The termination will result in a second-quarter charge to R&D expenses of about $30 million.

Richard Gaynor, head of product development and medical affairs at Lilly Oncology, said the company was disappointed with the results but added that its cancer pipeline "is still one of the most robust across the industry". It contains more than 20 molecules, including two Phase III drugs in five different tumour types.