Inhibitex shares crater as lead drug flunks Ph2

Shares of Inhibitex ($INHX) slid 25 percent on the news that its lead drug for shingles failed a mid-stage trial.

Investigators recruited 350 patients to test two doses of FV-100 against GSK's Valtrex (valacyclovir), a commonly used treatment for shingles. The developer stressed that investigators tracked a "favorable treatment difference" in the study. But it wasn't significant, and that spurred at least one analyst to write the program off as a lost cause.

"There is definitely no future for FV-100, since it failed in this trial where the main goal was to demonstrate superiority to Valtrex," Noble Financial Capital Markets analyst Raghuram Selvaraju tells Reuters. Success in a comparison trial with Valtrex would require a 25 percent improvement in the new drug cohort.

Inhibitex, though, was staying upbeat in the face of the bad news. "FV-100 has now demonstrated, in a well controlled trial, favorable treatment outcomes in shingles patients with the added benefit of once-daily dosing," stated Stephen Tyring, principal investigator of the Phase II trial. "These data support the potential of FV-100 as an effective, well tolerated, once-daily therapy for the treatment of shingles.

- see the Inhibitex release
- check out the Reuters report