Northfield shares hammered on late-stage results

Shares of Northfield Labs were halved after the company announced that a higher number of patients receiving its blood substitute died in a late-stage study compared to the number of deaths among patients getting standard care. Altogether, 46 of 349 patients receiving PolyHeme died compared to the deaths of 35 people among 365 receiving standard care. Northfield maintains that part of the data supports PolyHeme and added that mistakes were made in the trial. But investors bailed, sending its shares down 51 percent, which followed a 20 percent dive that occurred Tuesday after the company announced its plans to discuss the data.

Northfield insists that once you exclude the people who were inappropriately enrolled or improperly treated, Polyheme demonstrated that it was not inferior to standard therapy. More safety data will be available in four to six weeks, researchers added, as the company plans to proceed with an application for FDA approval. A number of analysts weren't buying it, though, saying that any application from Northfield would be subject to intense scrutiny.

- check out Northfield's press release on the data
- here's the article from The Chicago Sun-Times