Newron shares crash after neuropathic pain drug flunks trial

Shares of Newron Pharmaceuticals (SW: NWRN) took a pummeling this morning after the developer revealed that its neuropathic low back pain drug ralfinamide failed to perform any better than a placebo in a late-stage clinical trial. The news sent investors scurrying to the sidelines, with Newron's stock plunging 55 percent.

"We are extremely surprised and disappointed by the results, based on the statistically significant benefits shown in a Phase II placebo-controlled trial, as well as the results from a large number of preclinical studies," Chief Executive Luca Benatti saya in a statement. Newron is based in Milan, Italy, and its shares are traded on the Swiss exchange.

Some analysts professed not to be too surprised, though. Neuropathic pain has proven to be a hard target for developers to hit. The 12-week Serena study enrolled 411 patients with chronic neuropathic lower back pain.

- see Newron's press release
- here's the Reuters report