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More setbacks in the lab for AstraZeneca

The drug maker will not pursue work on an ovarian cancer drug and said another drug to treat depression has failed in a late-stage clinical trial.

AstraZeneca P.L.C., which has major operations in northern Delaware, announced setbacks on a treatment for ovarian cancer and another drug to treat patients with major depressive disorder.

The company said it will not conduct Phase III clinical trials for olaparib, the cancer drug. Also, Phase III study results for TC-5214 showed the drug failed to meet the primary end point set by researchers.

As a result, AstraZeneca will take pre-tax impairment charges totaling $381.5 million in the fourth quarter. It said that will have a 21-cent "negative impact" on the company's "core" earnings per share in Q4, although AstraZeneca left its guidance unchanged at $7.20 to $7.40 per share.

Radnor-based Penn Virginia said it will be expanding oil and gas exploration efforts in Texas' Eagle Ford Shale formation. It has signed an agreement with what Penn Virginia termed a "major oil and gas company" covering about 13,000 acres. Penn Virginia did not name its partner.

Also, a Philadelphia company that's in development on an online service that allows parents to control their kids' spending online said it is receiving a "significant financial investment" from an Oracle Corp. veteran. Virtual Piggy said that Kirk Bradley has joined its board as of Monday, but it did not disclose the amount of his investment.