Cytokinetics Shares Fall as Lou Gehrig’s Drug Fails

Cytokinetics Inc. tumbled the most ever after its experimental treatment for Lou Gehrig’s disease didn’t meet its goal in a study, the company’s second drug to fail a clinical trial in seven months.

Cytokinetics, with no marketed products, fell 65 percent to $4.59 at the close in New York, after the stock had doubled this year through yesterday.

The compound, called tirasemtiv, failed to show it helped patients with Lou Gehrig’s, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more than a placebo in a mid-stage study, the South San Francisco, California-based company said today in a statement. In September, Cytokinetics reported that its experimental therapy for acute heart failure failed to help people breathe more easily in a clinical trial.

“It’s pretty negative news,” Chad Messer, an analyst with Needham & Co Inc., said in a telephone interview from New York. “People are going to sell and run away, they’re going to consider it dead money for a while. I think there’s a fair amount of value left in the company.”

Messer said the company’s heart disease drug may show more positive trial results by year’s end.

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