Medivation's Dimebon flunks Ph3 for Huntington's disease

Medivation's dwindling hopes for Dimebon just got even smaller. Once one of the most closely-watched late-stage drugs in neurology, which earned a $225 million upfront deal from Pfizer, Medivation ($MDVN) said this morning that the treatment failed a late-stage study for Huntington's disease. But with expectations for Dimebon already low, its share price barely nudged down--a far cry from the drubbing it took after Dimebon failed a pivotal trial for Alzheimer's.

Investigators for Medivation said the treatment failed not only the primary endpoint in its Phase III study for Huntington's, but all secondary endpoints as well, with no statistically significant improvement on any score over a placebo. The developer promptly scuttled the Huntington's program, leaving only one remaining Phase III study for Alzheimer's underway to keep some hope alive that the drug may yet prove to be more effective than a sugar pill.

"Huntington's is a challenging disease area, and we are also disappointed with the HORIZON results," said Pfizer's Steve Romano, M.D., senior vice president, Medicines Development Group head, Primary Care Business Unit. "The results are expected to be presented at an upcoming medical meeting."

The modest impact on its shares this morning at least in part reflects Medivation CEO Daving Hung's ability to get investors to look past dimebon and on to MDV3100, its program for prostate cancer. In an industry which specializes in building hope for experimental therapies, Hung is doing his best to keep everyone's attention on the cancer drug as dimebon goes from failure to failure.

- check out the Medivation release

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