Biotie Therapies Corp has confirmed that UCB has pulled out of a deal to develop a Parkinson's disease drug but the companies are still working together on a different compound for the condition.

UCB's decision not to exercise its option to license the Finnish drugmaker's SYN118 (nitisinone) is based on data from a Phase IIa study released in May. The results showed that the drug, a hydroxyphenylpyruvate dioxygenase (HPPD) inhibitor, did not show a significant improvement in measures of Parkinson's motor function when compared to placebo.

In 2007, Biotie obtained rights from Syngenta to develop SYN118 in non-orphan diseases. The compound is sold by Swedish Orphan Biovitrum Europe in the USA, Australia and Russia for the treatment of hereditary tyrosinemia type 1, under the brand name Orfadin.

The decision comes as no surprise and earlier this month, Biotie said it "fully impaired the carrying value of this asset due to the uncertainty and likelihood of UCB exercising their option or further internal development of this product". This has resulted in a non-cash charge of 11.7 million euros which was taken in the third quarter.

However, the Turku-based company noted that another UCB-partnered compound, SYN115 (tozadenant), its novel adenosine A2a receptor antagonist  which is in Phase IIb development for Parkinson's is unaffected by the decision on SYN118.