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Incyte Falls After Patient Develops Infection

March 18 (Bloomberg) -- Incyte Corp., the maker of the drug Jakafi for bone marrow disease, fell the most in three months after a patient on the drug developed a viral infection.

Incyte dropped 4.2 percent to $23.79 at the close in New York, the biggest decline since Dec. 12. The shares have gained 32 percent in the past 12 months.

Incyte said it hadn’t determined yet whether the sometimes-fatal viral infection, called PML or progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, was caused by the drug. The Wilmington, Delaware company disclosed the infection in a filing today. The case shouldn’t be a major worry for investors, Eric Schmidt, an analyst with Cowen & Co. in New York, said in a note to clients.

“The causal connection to Jakafi is not established, and the event rate appears very low relative to the severity of the diseases that Jakafi treats,” Schmidt said.

The medicine, also known as ruxolitinib, is used to treat myelofibrosis, which occurs when a patient’s bone marrow scars and can’t produce new blood cells. In response, the liver and spleen try to compensate and end up swelling, according to the National Institutes of Health. Myelofibrosis can kill people in about five years.

An independent assessment will determine whether Jakafi caused the infection in the 75-year-old man in the U.K., the company said. It was the only known such case in about 9,800 patients who’ve been treated with the drug, Incyte said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Drew Armstrong in New York at darmstrong17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at  rgale5@bloomberg.net

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