Phytopharm Gives Up After Parkinson's Drug Failure

March 26, 2013

LONDON (Reuters) Mar 26 - British biotech Phytopharm said on Tuesday it was giving up development of a compound for Parkinson's disease derived from subtropical plants and was looking to sell the business.

Early trials indicated that the compound called Cogane could ease the symptoms and slow the progression of Parkinson's disease.

However, the drug, derived from a member of the sapogenin class of compounds, last month failed to show any benefit over placebo in a trial of 400 patients with early-stage Parkinson's.

The company said on Tuesday that a full analysis of the data confirmed the disappointing findings.

Phytopharm suffered earlier setbacks. It abandoned research aiming to commercialize a drug for the management of obesity derived from a southern African cactus called Hoodia gordonii three years ago, to focus its efforts on Cogane instead.

The company had hoped its compounds had the potential to be a new class of therapy for Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases.