Inotek on its knees after back-to-back glaucoma trial flops

Inotek Pharmaceuticals has posted its second set of subpar data of 2017. The latest readout shows the addition of Inotek’s trabodenoson to glaucoma patients’ regimens failed to perform better than latanoprost alone, wiping 45% off the company’s share price and prompting it to seek strategic alternatives.

Investigators enrolled 201 patients in the phase 2 trial and randomized them to receive one of three fixed-dose combinations of trabodenoson and latanoprost or one of two concentrations of latanoprost as a monotherapy. The fixed-dose combinations failed to improve intraocular pressure over 56 days of treatment by more than was achieved by latanoprost alone.

That is the second piece of bad news to rock Inotek this year. The first came at the start of the year when Inotek disclosed trabodenoson had failed to beat the placebo in a phase 3 glaucoma trial. That crushed Inotek’s stock price and left it looking to the phase 2 combination trial for a lifeline. The phase 2 data cut that lifeline, pushing Inotek’s stock price down below the $1-a-share mark.

Inotek responded to the latest setback by calling in Perella Weinberg Partners to help it look for strategic alternatives. With trabodenoson being the totality of Inotek’s pipeline, the company has little to offer buyers from a therapeutic perspective. But it does have a Nasdaq listing and some cash, assets that could make it the target of a reverse merger.

That has been the fate of a growing clutch of biotechs that went public before the wheels came off the IPO market in the back half of 2015. Dipexium Pharmaceuticals, Mirna Therapeutics, Nivalis Therapeutics, Signal Genetics and Tokai Pharmaceuticals all snuck in IPOs before the window shut, only for failures in the clinic to leave them holding little of value beyond their Nasdaq listings.

Inotek is still publicly holding on to the hope it can find a path forward for trabodenoson, but the data paint a bleak picture of its prospects.

“Based on these results and the results previously reported for our phase 3 MATrX-1 monotherapy trial, we are evaluating the future clinical potential of trabodenoson, as well as other strategic options,” Inotek CEO David Southwell said in a statement.