Newron's Mer­ck KGaA-in li­censed com­pound fails Rett Syn­drome study, shares wilt

Mu­ta­tions in a gene called MECP2 were iden­ti­fied as the cause of Rett Syn­drome in 1999 in­side a lab­o­ra­to­ry at the Bay­lor Col­lege of Med­i­cine — the same year, Ital­ian drug de­vel­op­er Newron Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals was born. On Mon­day, the com­pa­ny’s ex­per­i­men­tal drug, sari­zotan, failed a Phase II/III study in pa­tients with the se­vere neu­rode­vel­op­men­tal dis­or­der that has no ap­proved ther­a­pies.

In-li­censed from Mer­ck KGaA, the com­pound is de­signed to mod­u­late the ac­tiv­i­ty of neu­ro­trans­mit­ters and was aban­doned by the Ger­man drug­mak­er in 2006 af­ter a pair of failed piv­otal stud­ies in Parkin­son’s dis­ease. Now, Newron is al­so ter­mi­nat­ing its de­vel­op­men­tal pro­gram in Rett syn­drome.

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