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AstraZeneca is pulling the plug on its long-term relationship with Targacept. The companies first partnered in late 2005 to develop molecules that modulate neuronal nicotinic receptors, but over the years they expanded their pact to include other types of drug candidates, all of which have failed. AstraZeneca’s biggest commitment came in 2009, when it shelled out $200 million for the rights to TC-5214, a treatment for major depressive disorder. The big pharma firm handed TC-5214 back to Targacept in 2012 after a failed Phase III study.
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