Basilea Shares Plunge as Medication Fails for Yeast Infections

Basilea Pharmaceutica AG fell the most in more than five years after an experimental antifungal drug failed to treat yeast infections in a study.

The study results are “rather disappointing” because the market for treating potentially deadly Candida yeast infections is larger than that for the invasive fungal that the medicine is designed to target, said Chi Tran-Brändli, an analyst at Safra Sarasin in Zurich.

Basilea plunged 15 percent to 101.20 Swiss francs as of 1:36 p.m. local time, the biggest intraday decline since December 2009.

Isavuconazole, or Cresemba, was recommended last week by the European Medicines Agency to treat two invasive fungal infections. Basilea Chief Executive Officer Ronald Scott said full European approval may come in September or October and that the company may bring the drug to market at the beginning of next year.

Success in yeast infections “would have been a nice upside,” but the drug wouldn’t have taken much market share in that area due to its high price, Scott said in an interview. Results of an advanced clinical trial of the medicine among 440 adult patients showed it wasn’t any better than the current therapy.

Scott, a former manager at Roche Holding AG, said he expects data for a cancer compound in the second half of the year. It may also may announce new partnerships in Central and South America, the Middle East and Asia for Zevtera, the antibiotic also known as ceftobiprole.

Basilea may still try to seek approval for isavuconazole to treat yeast infections in patients who need to use pills after leaving the hospital, Scott said.

HBM Healthcare Investments AG, a holding company that is Basilea’s largest shareholder with a stake of about 10 percent, fell as much as 3.4 percent and was trading down 2.9 percent at 1:35 p.m.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE