Research into Novartis' Aurograb treatment designed to combat bacterial infections such as the deadly MRSA bug is being halted by the company after disappointing clinical tests.
The Swiss pharmaceutical giant said in a statement that it had decided to halt the programme "after Phase II results showed a lack of efficacy as an add-on therapy for life-threatening bacterial infections."
Novartis will take an impairment charge of 235 million dollars (159 million euros) in the third quarter as a result.
MRSA has shot to prominence in recent years as many people catch the bug while being treated in hospitals -- leading to doctors in Britain being banned from wearing their traditional white coats in favour of plastic aprons in a bid to reduce the risks of transmission.
Last June, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) warned that "healthcare-associated infections" such as MRSA, which are resistant to many antibiotics, are "possibly the biggest infectious disease challenge facing the EU."
It said that around three million people in the European Union catch a healthcare-associated infection every year and approximately 50,000 die as a result.