Astra says NXY-059 marks failure of drug class

LONDON, Oct 26 (Reuters) - AstraZeneca Plc AZN.L said on Thursday it would not seek to acquire or develop other neuroprotectant drugs for stroke, following the failure of NXY-059 in a pivotal clinical trial.

Development head John Patterson said the trial outcome suggested the class of drugs, designed to protect patients from permanent damage after a stroke, did not work.

“We don’t think there is any mileage in a neuroprotectant approach,” he told reporters in a conference call.

“We’ll not look to acquire any projects in the stroke area in this particular field ... we think we’ve done the definitive study here.”

Patterson added that the setback did not alter AstraZeneca’s strategy of acquiring or licensing in experimental drugs, since NXY-059 had always been viewed as high risk.

“To say that our strategy is either faulty or in trouble would be an unfair statement at this stage,” he said.

The failure of NXY-059 would not have any significant short-term impact, although there would be a small write-off of intangibles of around $12.5 million, he said.

Previously known as Cerovive, NXY-059 was licensed by AstraZeneca from U.S. biotech firm Renovis Inc RNVS.O.