Glaxo Drops Development of Prosensa’s DMD Treatment

GlaxoSmithKline Plc ended its four-year partnership with Prosensa Holding NV to develop a Duchenne muscular dystrophy treatment after the therapy failed to help patients walk better in a clinical trial. Prosensa shares fell as much as 23 percent.

Prosensa will regain the rights to the drug, known as drisapersen, and to all other development programs related to the neuromuscular disease, the companies said today in separate statements. The company, based in Leiden, Netherlands, has a total of six compounds in development for the illness, including drisapersen and three others in human testing.

Prosensa sold shares in June in an initial public offering at $13 each. The same month, drisapersen garnered breakthrough status from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, enabling the companies to speed development. In September, the shares fell 70 percent after the drug failed in a late-stage study. The stock, which is listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market, fell 20 percent to $4.47 at 10:30 a.m. in New York today, giving the company a market value of $156 million.

Prosensa is still considering a regulatory filing of drisapersen, given the mid-stage study showed promise in treating patients in the early stage of disease, Chief Executive Officer Hans Schikan said in a telephone interview. Longer treatment may also benefit patients, he said.

“When you start the treatment and how long you treat are the key questions,” Schikan said. Full analysis of the trials has not yet been completed, he said.

Studies Available

Schikan is attending the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference this week in San Francisco, meeting with investors and other pharmaceutical companies, he said. The Dutch company will provide a corporate update at the conference on Jan. 16.

Glaxo and Prosensa said they plan to make certain details of the drisapersen studies available to scientists to advance understanding of the disease, which affects about one in 3,500 newborn boys and has no known cure. The companies also plan to publish study results in a peer-reviewed journal.

Sarepta Therapeutics Inc., based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is developing another experimental medicine for the disease called eteplirsen.

Glaxo fell 0.2 percent to 1,595.50 pence at 3:30 p.m. in London, where the company is based.

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