Novartis drops NexMed deal as trial falls short

Novartis has dropped out of its collaboration to develop NexMed's topical treatment for nail fungus as its partner simultaneously announced that a comparative study with a treatment now in use in Europe failed to deliver the results they needed to file for marketing approval. And the double whammy sent investors scurrying, sending NexMed's already battered share price down 43 percent.

The East Windsor, NJ-based biotech says that the study comparing NM100060 and Loceryl demonstrated "comparable safety and efficacy profiles for the two products in patients with mild to moderate toenail fungus." And in the post hoc analysis of patients with mild fungus, NM100060 showed higher efficacy. But that wasn't good enough to gain an approval. The developer's shares dropped to 20 cents a share.

"There were lessons learned from the studies which warrant further development of this product," said CEO Vivian Liu. "We decided that NexMed will proceed with potential new licensing discussions. We have already received inquiries from companies with a focus in dermatology who are interested in commencing discussions."

- check out the press release
- read the report from Reuters