Just weeks after Astellas agreed to pay Aquinox Pharmaceuticals $25 million upfront for Asian rights to their lead drug rosiptor, the little biotech says their Phase III trial was a complete disaster, leaving nothing to salvage.
CEO David Main didn’t sugarcoat it. No matter how hard they studied the data, the interstitial cystitis drug clearly couldn’t beat a placebo. He said:
We have conducted a number of sensitivity, subpopulation, and secondary endpoint analyses and none demonstrate a benefit of rosiptor over placebo.
Investors betting on a key success here clearly weren’t happy. Aquinox’s shares $AQXP were swiftly decimated, diving 85%.
The Vancouver-based biotech had hoped for better, recruiting 433 patients suffering from interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome for the study, which had the same design as Phase II.
After burying the drug program, and watching its market cap shrivel, Main says it’s time to study what kind of strategic alternatives remains open. There is a mid-stage study underway for the same drug — a small molecule activator of SHIP1 — in chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome. But virtually all of its eggs were in the one drug basket.
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