Targacept has announced that AstraZeneca will pursue the development of the company’s candidate AZD1446 as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

AZD1446 is a selective modulator of the alpha4beta2 neuronal nicotinic receptor developed through a research collaboration conducted by Targacept and AstraZeneca.

Under the terms of a 2005 collaborative research and license agreement, AstraZeneca took responsibility for further development and potential commercialisation of AZD1446.

The drug will now move into a Phase II trial as an additional treatment to donepezil for patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s.

Targacept President and CEO J Donald deBethizy said that the planned evaluation of AZD1446 as an augmentation treatment in Alzheimer’s complements Targacept’s ongoing Phase IIb study of AZD3480 as a monotherapy.