Denmark’s Lundbeck and Cephalon of the USA took a knocking today after revealing they would terminate a Phase II/III trial of CEP-1347 in Parkinson’s disease after an independent data safety monitoring board said they would be unlikely to see a significant clinical benefit. There were no safety concerns.

“While we are disappointed with results of the trial, our collaboration with Lundbeck will continue as a valuable part of our ongoing research program in neurodegenerative disorders,” said Jeffry Vaught, Senior Vice President and President, Research and Development at Cephalon. “We will continue to actively evaluate compounds for further clinical development with Lundbeck.”

The news is particularly bad for Lundbeck which, earlier this week, reported first quarter profit down 5% to 637 million Danish kroner. However, its operating margin rose slightly to 28.7% from 27% the previous year as total costs fell 12% to 1.6 billion kroner and sales of new Lundbeck products were boosted 29% to 1.4 billion kroner. These new therapies - the antidepressants Cipralex (citalopram)/Lexapro (escitalopram), and the Alzheimer’s treatment Ebixa (memantine) – accounted for 65% of total revenue versus 45% in quarter one 2004.

The news will put more emphasis on Lundbeck’s recently approved Azilect (rasagiline) – also for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease – which received the green light in Europe in February [[23/02/05f]].