Teva’s one-time blockbuster-to-be — and now recurring embarrassment — laquinimod fails yet again, this time for Huntington’s

Teva has added yet another critical failure for laquinimod, which may finally be put on the chopping block.

The company’s partners at Active Biotech $ACTI announced that their Phase II study for Huntington’s disease failed, which comes on top of multiple failures in multiple sclerosis. Active’s stock tumbled 37% on the news of the latest mishap.

Once billed as a likely blockbuster that would one day succeed Copaxone, laquinimod racked up expensive failures in relapsing, remitting and progressive MS. The Huntington’s Phase II got started 4 years ago. And the trial failure wipes out one of the few remaining efforts that Teva had in Phase II/Phase III development.

Kåre Schultz

Even back in 2014 — as Teva confidently predicted an approval this year — the drug had already racked up critical setbacks for improving the relapse rate in MS. And since then the field has been fundamentally reordered by Biogen’s Tecfidera.

Teva lost patent protection on Copaxone last fall, but aggressively countered with a rebate campaign that kept Mylan’s copycat at bay. Then, just days ago, Mylan slashed its list price on their challenger to just a fraction of what it had been, which troubled Teva — undergoing a top-to-bottom revamp under new CEO Kåre Schultz — is going to have a tough time countering.

This latest failure comes without data, which will be held back. The drug failed a measure of the Unified Huntington’s Disease Rating Scale – Total Motor Score, or UHDRS-TMS. There was a hit on a secondary goal for reducing brain atrophy.

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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