Mast Terminates Clinical Development of Sickle Cell Drug Following Poor Results; Co.'s Stock PlungesThursday, September 22, 2016
The stock of local biotech Mast Therapeutics Inc. has plummeted nearly 80 percent immediately following news of lousy clinical trial results.
The company was in late-stage clinical trials for sickle cell disease treatment, vepoloxamer. The trial results, however, showed the drug failed to beat out the placebo.
“We are exceedingly disappointed with these top-line results,” said Brian Culley, Mast’s CEO, in a statement. “While clearly not the outcome we wanted, we believe the insights and data from the largest placebo-controlled clinical trial ever completed in sickle cell disease will substantially advance the understanding of vaso-occlusive crisis and the still maturing clinical science necessary to support the development of new therapeutics for this debilitating disease.”
As Mast’s share price nearly flattens, the company said it will terminate all clinical development of vepoloxamer, and take immediate cost-cutting measures.
“We intend to significantly and immediately reduce our operating expenses and continue our efforts with AIR001, our lead asset in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, which currently is the subject of a 100-patient Phase 2 study expected to complete enrollment by the end of 2017,” Culley said.
Interestingly, pharma’s least favorite ex-CEO Martin Shkreli predicted Mast’s failure just days earlier (with his signature callous candor). As a recent guest on Benzinga’s PreMarket Prep, a daily trading radio show, Shkreli said Mast Therapeutics was “worthless.”
"This is a company that's probably, I would say, worthless, that's going to drop 90 percent or more in the next few weeks," Shkreli said on the show.