Zafgen halts development of obesity drug in U.S.

Zafgen halts development of obesity drug in U.S.

U.S.-based biopharma company Zafgen Inc. has suspended the development of beloranib, an obesity drug originally created and licensed out by South Korea’s Chong Kun Dang Pharmaceutical Corp. in 2009.

Zafgen’s decision, announced on July 19, came six months after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asked the company to halt the drug’s clinical trials following the death of two patients.

Beloranib, administered through an injection, had been considered a promising treatment for Prader-Willi syndrome, a rare genetic disorder causing unrelenting hunger which leads to life-threatening obesity.

“Following exhaustive efforts, we concluded that there is not a viable pathway forward for beloranib that can assure patient safety,” Zafgen chief executive Thomas Hughes said in a statement.

CKD Pharm said that Zafgen had abandoned beloranib as a potential drug development candidate altogether and that it would have to negotiate with Zafgen on how to proceed. As the drug was wholly licensed out in 2009, the Korean drugmaker “does not expect much financial damage” from the decision.

As of 2015, CKD had reportedly received some $8 million in development milestones, including an upfront payment of $500,000, under the licensing agreement.



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