Human Genome Sciences said yesterday that a lupus drug failed to significantly delay flare-ups or lessen symptoms of the painful chronic...
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Human Genome Sciences said yesterday that a lupus drug failed to significantly delay flare-ups or lessen symptoms of the painful chronic autoimmune disease in human testing. The company’s stock tumbled 29 percent on the news.
The Rockville, Md., biotech company said it may continue to study the treatment.
Shares of Human Genome Sciences fell $4.10 to close at $9.87 yesterday.
The company said LymphoStat-B did not significantly reduce the symptoms of lupus among many study patients after 24 weeks as the company had hoped. It also did not reduce flare-ups during the first 52 weeks, one of the study’s goals.
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However, tests showed there was some reduction in symptoms among 75 percent of the 449 patients in the study who already had signs of lupus in their blood, helped reduce some of the damaging effects, and was safe for humans. Encouraged by those results, the company said it would consider moving to a late-stage study of the drug, known as Phase 3 trials.
“That to us is a clear path forward to Phase 3,” H. Thomas Watkins, Human Genome Science’s CEO, said in a conference call.
The company said it planned to consult with its partner on the drug, GlaxoSmithKline, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before deciding whether to continue studying LymphoStat-B.
Rick Koenig, a spokesman for GlaxoSmithKline, said the company would review the trial “to get a really good understanding” of the results, but hadn’t yet decided on how to proceed.
The results were a setback for Human Genome Sciences, which has yet to bring a product to market, and for the treatment of lupus, a disease that hasn’t had a new treatment in 40 years.
Roughly 1.5 million Americans have the disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack organs such as the kidneys, liver, brain and skin.
It can cause swollen joints, rashes, fatigue, fevers and other complications.