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AZ Pondering Future of Psoriasis Drug

AstraZeneca will need to decide soon whether to  independently pursue an experimental psoriasis drug that has been linked to suicidal side effects, Bloomberg reported recently.

“We want to take more time to look at the data and take time to engage with regulators,” AstraZeneca’s Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot told the news service about brodalumab. “We are actively contacting people who can help us think our strategy through, if we can find a way forward or not.”

AstraZeneca and Amgen have been working  jointly to commercialize five monoclonal antibodies from Amgen’s clinical inflammation portfolio since 2012. The drugs included brodalumab, an investigational IL-17 inhibitor, which is in development for patients with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and axial spondyloarthritis, according to

But on May 22 Amgen dropped the agreement concerning brodalumab after patients showed signs of suicidal tendencies, which would require a stringent warning label if the drug achieved regulatory approval. During the trials, four patients showed suicidal tendencies and two patients committed suicide. When Amgen announced it was ending the collaboration, the company also said there were more suicides in the open label extension studies, beyond the two reported in the Phase III studies, reports