Cytokinetics offers upbeat data from mid-stage trial of ALS drug

After failing to impress investors with previous data on its ALS drug, Cytokinetics' ($CYTK) stock price got a 4% bump this morning after the South San Francisco developer revealed data from a mid-stage trial involving patients with the incurable neurodegenerative disease.

The company said that a part of the Phase II trial for the drug, dubbed CK-2017357, succeeded in "defining the tolerability and pharmacokinetic profile" during two weeks of therapy. The trial, involving 24 patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly called Lou Gehrig's disease, showed the drug was well-tolerated at daily doses ranging from 125 mg and 375 mg. It reported that 83% of patients on various doses of the drug had at least one adverse event compared with 67% in the placebo group, with dizziness being the most common side effect among patients in the study. Symptoms of the disease decreased in three patients in the trial, Cytokinetics CEO Robert Blum told Bloomberg.

"Even after two weeks, in this study we saw trends toward improvement," Blum told the news service.

Cytokinetics said on Tuesday that it was beginning its third Phase II study of the drug, which is intended to increase sensitivity to calcium in order to activate fast skeletal muscle complex. When the disease robs patients of skeletal muscle strength needed to breath, they die of respiratory failure. The third mid-stage study will test the drug in patients on the ALS drug riluzole, after the previous Phase II studied the experimental treatment in patients who were not taking that drug.

- here's the release
- see Bloomberg's article
- and the report from RTTNews

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