Phytopharm excites analysts with promising Parkinson's data

Phytopharm is backing up its lead therapy for Parkinson's with promising data from both a non-human primate study and a small human safety trial. And the indication that the drug could go on to become the first disease-modifying therapy in an $11 billion market lit a fire under its share price.

Testing oral Cogane in macaque monkeys over 18 months, researchers recorded a remarkable 43 percent drop in disability. And the small human trial with 28 volunteers offered proof of safety and tolerability. "At last for people living with the condition here is an innovative, prospective treatment for Parkinson's which shows real promise," said Tom Isaacs of the Cure Parkinson's Trust.

"Today's impressive clinical and pre-clinical data demonstrate the potential for Cogane to become the first disease-modifying therapy in the fast growing $11 billion Parkinson's disease market," noted analyst Paul Cuddon at KBC Peel Hunt. "Cogane was safe and demonstrated encouraging pharmacokinetics in humans, as well impressive efficacy in the gold standard primate model of Parkinson's disease."

The raves inspired investors to push up the value of the UK biotech's shares by 67 percent. And some of the analysts like Cuddon expect it to go much higher, especially as a Phase II study is expected to start delivering results in the second quarter of next year. CEO Sandy Morrison said Phytopharm plans to "move rapidly to a proof-of-concept clinical study."

- check out the press release from Phytopharm (.pdf)
- here's the report from the Guardian
- here's the Reuters story