AstraZeneca’s brazikumab inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) development programme has been discontinued due to trial delays.

Brazikumab, an anti-IL-23 monoclonal antibody, was being investigated for the treatment of Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC).

The scrapped trials include the Phase IIb/III INTREPID trial (NCT03759288) in CD and the Phase II EXPEDITION trial (NCT03616821) in UC, and their respective open-label extension trials.

The British drugmaker said that the decision to discontinue brazikumab’s IBD development followed a recent review of the drug’s development timeline and the competitive market landscape.

AstraZeneca noted that the timeline was impacted by delays that could not be mitigated following global events.

The company was quick to add that no safety concerns were identified for patients in these trials.

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Clinical Trials Arena has tracked the effect of Covid-19 on trial delays and termination and found that IBD trials had the highest number of disrupted trials among the disrupted gastrointestinal trials.

The news will come as a reprieve for AbbVie, as it was funding AstraZeneca’s brazikumab programme, as part of the acquisition of Allergan.

Currently marketed monoclonal antibody drugs for CD and UC include AbbVie’s Skyrizi (Risankizumab) and Johnson and Johnson’s Stelara (Ustekinumab).

According to GlobalData projections, while Stelara is the current market leader with $10 billion in sales in 2023, its sales are expected to fall to just $2.8 billion in 2028. Meanwhile, Skyrizi will eclipse its rival with projected sales rising to $ 14.3 billion in 2028.

GlobalData is the parent company of Clinical Trials Arena.