AP: AstraZeneca buys rights to experimental antidepressant

The Associated Press: Targacept, AstraZeneca cooperate on depression med.

Under terms of the agreement, AstraZeneca will pay Targacept $200 million upfront upon effectiveness of TC-5214, Targacept’s late-stage investigational treatment for major depressive disorder. TC-5214 is a nicotinic channel blocker that is thought to treat depression by acting on neuronal nicotinic receptors, or NNRs, according to Targacept. Targacept says NNRs are found on nerve cells throughout the nervous system and regulate nervous system activity. The companies plan to test the drug in a large-scale pivotal trial next year and aim to seek approval from the Food and Drug Administration in 2012.

The companies want to market TC-5214 to patients who are not successfully treated by the most common type of depression drugs, which are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

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