Drug Development

Mast’s sickle cell drug flunks PhIII, eclipsing shares

Turn out the lights, the party is over at Mast Therapeutics. The San Diego-based biotech, a penny stock microcap, announced after the market closed on Tuesday that its Phase III study of an experimental drug for sickle cell disease flopped, unable to differentiate itself from a sugar pill.

Mast CEO Brian M. Culley

Mast CEO Brian M. Culley

Mast’s already battered shares $MSTX dropped 76%, to 13 cents a share, on the news.

There’s some analysis of the data left to do on vepoloxamer, but the company say’s it is ready to wash its hands of the drug. Then it can examine its remaining options.

“(B)ased on the data we’ve seen to date, we expect we will terminate all clinical development of vepoloxamer,” said CEO Brian M. Culley. “Consequently, while we evaluate our options, we intend to significantly and immediately reduce our operating expenses and continue our efforts with AIR001, our lead asset in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, which currently is the subject of a 100-patient phase 2 study expected to complete enrollment by the end of 2017.”

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