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Sangamo Halts Diabetes Drug Development After Failing Trial

Oct. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Sangamo BioSciences Inc. fell the most in almost three years after the company said its experimental drug for diabetic neuropathy didn’t work better than a placebo in a clinical trial.

Sangamo declined $1.31, or 30 percent, to $3.04 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading, for the biggest single-day loss since falling 66 percent on Nov. 11, 2008, when the drug failed an earlier study. Sangamo will stop development of the medicine, SB-509, and focus on drugs for HIV and genetic diseases, the Richmond, California-based company said today in a statement.

“We view this data as thorough, and clear, and more than sufficient for us to make a definitive decision not to pursue the drug on our own,” said Edward Lanphier, Sangamo’s president and chief executive officer, in a telephone interview.

Diabetic neuropathy, a degenerative disease, affected as many as 18 million Americans last year, according to the statement, citing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nerve damage from high blood glucose levels cause numbness, tingling sensations and pain in the toes or feet. This can lead to a loss of feeling and function, and sores.

The trial tested the medicine on patients with moderate to severe symptoms of the disease and was the second of three typically required for U.S. regulatory approval.

No Changes

Lanphier said the study’s results won’t change the company’s plans. Last month, Sangamo reported its gene therapy, designed to mimic the blocking effect of white blood cells in people naturally immune to HIV, helped six patients fight off the disease without drugs.

“Our plans have always been if this trial were successful, to move forward with a partnership around it, so we were not gearing up, or planning to do another clinical trial,” he said. “As I said to the employees here, there’s not a single person working here at Sangamo, in any capacity, who’s going to do something different today, than they would have if these data had been unbelievably positive.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Ryan Flinn in San Francisco at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at

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