LONDON (AP) – AstraZeneca PLC said it has stopped development of its drug motavizumab for preventing serious respiratory syncytial virus disease but would continue working on other applications.
The London-based pharmaceutical company said it would take a writedown of $445 million on fourth-quarter accounts but said this would not change its forecast for earnings.
AstraZeneca shares were up 0.4 percent at 2,949 pence in early trading on the London Stock Exchange.
AstraZeneca has sought approval for motavizumab to prevent a type of lung infection caused by respiratory syncytial virus, the leading cause of infant hospitalization in the U.S.
The company had been reviewing its options for motavizumab after U.S. regulators expressed concern about the rate of side effects associated with the drug and asked for more clinical data in August.
Respiratory syncytial virus causes more than 125,000 infant hospitalizations each year, and up to 500 deaths, according to studies cited by AstraZeneca.
Date: December 21, 2010
Source: Associated Press