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NeurogesX Sinks After FDA Panel Votes Against HIV Pain Patch

NeurogesX Inc., a specialty drugmaker that has never reported an annual profit, dropped to its all-time low trading price after the company failed to win the backing of a U.S. advisory panel for a patch to relieve painful nerve damage commonly associated with HIV.

NeurogesX fell 28 percent to 58 cents at 4 p.m. That’s the lowest closing price since the San Mateo, California-based company began trading in May 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The decrease added to a 31 percent drop over two days earlier this week.

The panel voted 12-0 that the company didn’t provide substantial evidence that its product, Qutenza, works. The advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration met yesterday in Silver Spring, Maryland.

The FDA staff raised questions in a report Feb. 7 whether the prescription-strength capsaicin patch proved “substantial efficacy” in treating pain caused by neuropathy linked to the virus. NeurogesX filed studies with the FDA that used alternative testing methods to show a “modest benefit,” said Randall Flick, associate professor of anesthesiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and acting panel chairman.

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