Little biotech’s stock flatlines as its followup attempt at a depression drug trial win ends in another defeat
You can add one more depression drug trial to the scrap heap of failed clinical explorations.
VistaGen followed its spring failure for AV-101 as a monotherapy with a followup defeat using the therapy as an adjunctive treatment for major depression, adding it to standard drugs among treatment-resistant patients in Phase II.
It didn’t work.
Investigators at the South San Francisco-based company speculated that the drug wasn’t making it across the blood-brain barrier in large enough concentrations to make a difference. And they tried to foster some hope among investors by citing animal data indicating that adding it to probenecid could do the trick.
Investors, though, were in no mood to play along. The stock $VTGN took a nasty dive, plunging more than 60% and dropping deep into penny stock territory. At one point, in 2015, the stock traded at $16. It’s now less than 40 cents.
It also didn’t help that the company cited its other, more advanced work in the field.
“We remain excited by and focused on continued execution of our Phase 3 program for PH94B in social anxiety disorder and our Phase 2 program for PH10 in major depressive disorder,” said CEO Shawn Singh in a prepared statement. “Each of these first-in-class compounds is further along in development than AV-101, as they have already demonstrated clinical proof of concept in Phase 2 studies, and, thus, in 2020, we will be proceeding into Phase 3 and Phase 2b studies, respectively.”
Depression has been a disaster zone for big and small companies alike, with Sage being one of the few that has bucked that trend — for now.