Alexion therapy fails Phase III trial for heart patients

Alexion Pharmaceuticals said that a late-stage trial of pexelizumab failed to hit a primary endpoint of reducing heart attacks following coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Researchers said that patients taking the drug did see a decline in heart attacks, but not at a rate necessary to establish statistical significance. Alexion's stock plunged 30 percent in early trading today. Alexion announced that it would assess the implications of the results for its second Phase III trial of the experimental therapy for patients treated with angioplasty. The company had estimated the drug's potential sales at $500 million a year.

"We are clearly disappointed that pexelizumab did not meet its primary endpoint in PRIMO-CABG2," said Leonard Bell, M.D., CEO of Alexion. "We look forward to completing an analysis of the data and obtaining a more in-depth understanding of these results."

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