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Shire Plunges After Lialda Fails in Test for Colon Condition

Shire Plc fell the most in almost three years in London trading after saying its Lialda drug for ulcerative colitis failed in a trial that may have expanded its use and potentially reached sales of more than $2 billion.

Shire shares sank 4.6 percent to close at 2,020 pence, the steepest decline since May 2009.

The treatment failed to meet the main goal in a test of 592 patients with diverticulitis, a condition where pouches that form in the wall of the colon get inflamed or infected, the Dublin-based company said today in a statement. The trial would have been the last of three stages of human tests usually needed for approval, which the company said it will no longer pursue.

If the drug worked for diverticulitis, it might have brought in more than $2 billion with 900,000 U.S. users at its peak, JPMorgan analysts wrote in a report dated March 8. At the time of the report, the bank estimated potential sales of $500 million with 200,000 users. The drug generated $372.1 million in 2011.

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