Leading Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca has announced that it will drop the development of Viozan, a treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or smoker's cough. The company said that it has come to this decision after trials proved that the drug has limited long term benefit to patients. Phase III clinical trial of the drug Viozan failed to show that it was better than competing products in long-term treatment. Viozan would have competed with GlaxoSmithKline's treatment Serevent.
Coming on the back of a patent loss for its blockbuster ulcer treatment drug, Losec, which contributes nearly $6 billion in revenues, this decision is a major setback for the pharma major. Viozan was one of five products expected to fill the gap left as generic competition eroded sales of Losec.
Company officials said that they never considered Viozan to be the most promising of its new products and had forecasted that Viozan sales would reach over $650 million. The company is placing more reliance on another drug, Crestor, a cholesterol-lowering drug that is expected to reach sales of about $3 billion. The company has reportedly filed for clearance to market Crestor with the US and European regulatory authorities.
Instead, company officials stated, ending the development of Viozan would allow the company to focus resources on other key projects.