Swiss drugmaker Roche has decided to terminate its involvement in the development of daclizumab for asthma, an antibody therapy it has been working on with US group PDL Biopharma since 2004, following a recent portfolio review.

As a result, PDL now holds exclusive rights for this indication, and the company said it is “evaluating opportunities to establish a new collaboration," and needs to "partner this programme in order to further develop daclizumab in asthma.”

But Roche has not completely severed its ties with PDL, as the firms are continuing joint development of the agent for organ transplant patients receiving long-term maintenance therapy, for which mid-stage studies are planned next year. Roche already sells daclizumab as Zenapax for initial use in organ transplant patients.

Daclizumab is also being evaluated for use in multiple sclerosis and other diseases in a collaboration with Biogen Idec, and PDL said that, while trying to find a new partner for the asthma indication, it plans to redouble its efforts on the MS and chronic transplant programmes.

Shares in PDL closed up $0.17 at $19.66 after the news.