Sage shares get a bump from a snapshot of new PhII depression data

Steve Kanes, Sage

Sage Therapeutics $SAGE has had a lot of success posting interim snapshots on the data it’s been gathering for its pipeline drugs. And the biotech scored another surge in its share price today with a sliver of data from the first stage of its Phase II study of its depression drug SAGE-217.

Looking at 13 patients – a tiny group for a disease like depression – investigators say that 11 of them demonstrated a minimum 50% reduction in disease scores. And 8 of them achieved remission.

This was an open-label stretch of the study, with no placebo control arm. Placebo effects in these studies have proven to be a tough hurdle for developers to clear, scuttling a large number of depression drugs in the past.

Investors were willing to give the preliminary results a thumbs up, though. The biotech’s stock jumped 12% on the latest update from Sage.

“Our novel, orally-administered molecule, SAGE-217, was designed to reproduce the important GABA-related pharmacology of our intravenous agent SAGE-547, and is an example of our translational approach to drug development. The positive results from this clinical trial, along with the outcomes observed with SAGE-547 in postpartum depression, further validate studying this mechanism as a potential broad therapy for the treatment of mood disorders,” said Steve Kanes, the chief medical officer of Sage. “SAGE-217 has the potential to be a rapid-acting, once-daily oral therapy for MDD, with a novel mechanism of action.”

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