NEW YORK (AP) – Catalyst Pharmaceutical Partners Inc. says it will continue developing an anti-addiction drug that has failed in two clinical trials, as it believes the treatment is safe and effective.
Catalyst said its drug vigabatrin failed as a treatment for cocaine addiction because patients in the trial did not take the drug regularly. Based on analysis of results from patients who did take vigabatrin regularly, Catalyst said late Wednesday that there is evidence the drug works, and is safe. However it also said the drug failed against methamphetamine addiction.
Shares of the Coral Gables, Fla., company climbed 50 cents, or 60 percent, to $1.35, after earlier doubling. The shares have traded between 39 cents and $2.95 over the last year, and plunged in May after Catalyst reported unsuccessful results from the cocaine trial.
The company said it has analyzed patients’ urine from the cocaine study, and found that less than 40 percent of patients were taking vigabatrin as often as they were supposed to. Catalyst said an independent panel of experts agreed with its view that there is enough evidence to continue testing the drug because it increased abstinence from cocaine and reduced use, along with reducing the number of days the patients used cocaine.
The trial was designed with the assumption that 85 percent of the patients would take the drug as scheduled.
Catalyst reported results from the methamphetamine study on Thursday. It said patients who took vigabatrin were 2.5 times more likely to stay off the drug in the last two weeks of the 12-week study. That was not much better than patients who were taking a placebo, but the company said it is an encouraging result.
Merriman Curhan Ford analyst Edward Nash said Catalyst addressed the reasons for the failure of the cocaine study, and he now thinks the company has a chance to develop vigabatrin successfully. He upgraded the shares to “Neutral” from “Sell.”
“We believe this creates a light at the end of the tunnel for Catalyst,” Nash said in a note to clients.
French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis markets vigabatrin overseas under the name Sabril.
Date: October 1, 2009
Source: Associated Press
Filed Under: Drug Discovery