Companies with more than one product in their pipelines have an incentive to determine whether such compounds are promising or whether resources should be diverted to back-ups or other programs. However, efforts to make such decisions quickly can meet with frustrating delays.

For example, Inflazyme Pharmaceuticals Ltd. had hoped to conduct a short efficacy study of its IPL576,092 asthma compound to help it design a key Phase IIa trial for partner Aventis S.A. But IZP has run into an unexpected snag with the U.K. regulatory authorities.