Palatin Technologies, Inc
) recently announced that the company and its partner,
), have halted the development of phase I obesity candidate,
AZD2820. AZD2820 is a subcutaneously-administered peptide
melanocortin-4 receptor partial agonist. The clinical development
of the candidate was stopped after it was suspected that it may
cause allergic reactions.
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AZD2820's safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and
pharmacodynamics were being evaluated in an ascending dose phase I
study conducted by AstraZeneca. AstraZeneca planned to enroll 72
obese males for this trial. However, the study was stopped by the
Safety Review Committee at AstraZeneca due to the occurrence of the
aforementioned serious adverse event. Before the study was
discontinued, 11 patients had already completed their dosing
We note that this was the second phase I study of AZD2820. The
first one was completed in 2011 without any reported incidence of
serious adverse events.
In January 2007, Palatin and AstraZeneca entered into an exclusive
research collaboration and license agreement for the development of
melanocortin receptor drugs for the treatment of obesity, diabetes
and related metabolic syndrome. The agreement has been modified
several times since then to include more compounds and amend
royalty rates and milestone payments.
As per the terms of the agreement, Palatin is eligible to receive
mid-to-high single digit royalties on sales of any approved
products arising from this collaboration. The research
collaboration expired in January 2010 post which AstraZeneca has
undertaken all the developmental duties.
We currently have a Neutral recommendation on both AstraZeneca and
Palatin. While Palatin carries a Zacks #2 Rank (Buy rating) in the
short run, AstraZeneca carries a Zacks #3 Rank (short-term Hold