Novo Nordisk cancels its collaboration deal with Zosano Pharma. The diabetes drug semaglutine won’t be delivered with the microneedle patch technology, developed from the latter.

Zosano’s patch technology uses thin titanium microprojections to deliver drugs that cannot permeate the outer layer of the skin. According to Zosano, the system was tested on 400 patients in Phase I and II studies and promises a fast, efficient and pain free drug delivery.

Back in early 2014, Novo bought exclusive rights to develop and commercialize its diabetes drug semaglutine, a glucagon-like-peptide (GLP 1) analogue, using Zosano’s patch technology. In case of approval in clinical testing, the total payment to Zosano was estimated around €55M ($60M), but the combined therapy only reached preclinical stage. Now, all technology rights return to Zosano.

The decision follows a review of “strategic prioritization of Novo’s research portfolio” declared Zosano, “despite continued progress during the collaboration”. Already in late 2014, the company had announced the reorganization of its pipeline by ending all inflammatory disease activities within 6 months to focus on diabetes and obesity drugs. The Danish world market leader counts 12 other diabetes drugs, 6 of them in Phase III or filed.

Zosano can now concentrate on ZP-PTH, a daily given therapeutic for severe osteoporosis that completed Phase II. The American company can even envisage a milestone payment of up to €410M ($450M) from its investor Eli Lilly, should this collaboration prove more satisfying.

 

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