Aventis S.A. may be wishing it had made a different decision with its schizophrenia compounds. In 1997, what was then Hoechst Marion Roussel out-licensed Zomaril iloperidone to Titan Pharmaceuticals Inc., while electing to pursue another compound, MDL100,907. Last week TTP and partner Novartis International AG (SWX:NOVN; NVS) released positive initial results from their Phase III trial of Zomaril, while Aventis has dropped development of MDL100,907 in acute schizophrenia.

Moreover, Zomaril's profile so far looks favorable compared to other anti-schizophrenics on the market or in development. The adverse effects of marketed anti-schizophenic drugs - which like Zomaril are antagonists of dopamine (D2), and serotonin (5HT) - are significant, leaving room for compounds with improved therapeutic indices.