Acadia culls painkiller rival to Vertex and cancer candidate over poor data

Acadia has ditched two candidates from its clinical pipeline, including a one-time competitor to Vertex’s non-opioid painkiller.

The biotech revealed it has scrapped its ACP-044 program following an evaluation of the final phase 2 data on patients undergoing bunion removal. The writing was on the wall after an initial readout from that trial in April showed that the oral small molecule did not produce a statistically significant effect on cumulative pain intensity scores over 24 hours.

The results were a blow for Acadia, coming weeks after rival Vertex boasted a mid-phase win for a similar candidate.

At the time, Acadia CEO Steve Davis said the biotech was awaiting the full data before deciding whether to push ahead with ACP-044. But in a second-quarter earnings announcement this morning, the company signaled the game was up.

And it wasn’t the only Acadia asset to head to the scrapheap. The biotech said it was also discontinuing ACP-319, which was being tested in a range of central nervous system disorders.

The drug, a positive allosteric modulator of the M1 receptor, had not shown a profile that justified moving into a phase 2 study, Acadia said.

Elsewhere in Acadia’s earnings report the company was able to point to better news. For example, the biotech has hopes that trofinetide, which was submitted last month to the FDA for approval, will become the first treatment for a rare neurological condition called Rett syndrome.

It also pointed to a molecule developed in-house called ACP-204, which is in phase 1 trials for neuropsychiatric indications. Acadia is aiming for ACP-204 to build upon its own learnings garnered from neuropsychiatric drug Nuplazid, the company’s only approved therapy to date.