Biotech Day in Review: AtheroGenics Tumbles on Drug Test Failure

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 |  Includes: ACAD, AGIX, ALXN, NYMX
by: Centient Biotech Investor
AtheroGenics (AGIX) fell sharply on news that AGI-1067 failed to meet its primary endpoint in a Phase III trial, which was timed to first incidence of a composite of major adverse cardiovascular events [MACE].

The drug was given to patients with a recent acute coronary syndrome. However, the company stressed that AGI-1067 did reduce the incidence of several other predefined measures, including cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction (heart attack) and stroke, and it improved several key diabetes parameters, including glycemic control.

Because of these other successes, AtheroGenics will continue to develop the drug. AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) is a partner on the drug. It has 45 days to decide whether to continue with the collaboration. AtheroGenics gave up 61% of its value, dropping $4.74 to $3.09.

Acadia Pharma
(NASDAQ:ACAD) said its anti-psychotic drug candidate ACP-103 was successful in a Phase II trial for schizophrenia (see story). The drug was administered with two commonly prescribed anti-schizophrenia drugs, risperidone and haloperidol. By combining ACP-103 with a low dose of one of these two drugs, the regimen produced the same efficacy as a high dose of risperidone or haloperidol. Because high levels of risperidone and haloperidol are associated with side effects, ACP-103 has a niche.

In addition, the onset of relief was quicker with ACP-103. Company officials said the company would seek a partner for the drug rather than taking on a Phase III trial for this indication by itself. Acadia doubled in price, rising 103%. It moved $6.69 higher to end at $13.61.

Nymox Pharma (NASDAQ:NYMX) reported positive data from a long-term test of NX-1207 for benign prostatic hyperplasia. In 116 patients, data was taken 8-19 months after treatment, and the results show a mean improvement of 7.4 points in AUA Symptom Score values, which was a statistically significant gain. Nymox slipped 17 cents to $5.93.

On Friday, Alexion Pharma (NASDAQ:ALXN) received FDA approval to market Soliris for paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria [PNH], a life-threatening blood disorder characterized by destruction of red blood cells, or hemolysis. Soliris is the first drug approved to treat the condition. Patients with PNH lack a protein that protects red blood cells from destruction by a component of the immune system called terminal complement. PNH inhibits terminal complement. Yesterday, PDL Biopharma (NASDAQ:PDLI) filed a suit against Alexion, alleging Soliris infringes on its patents. Alexion slid $1.15 to $39.00.

Biotech kicked off the new trading week with a good-sized gain. The Centient Biotech 200™ rose 34 points to 3836, an increase of .89%. The S&P 500 was up 1.09% and Nasdaq climbed .92%.

Disclosure: none.