SciClone shares slide after it dumps failed hep C program

SciClone Pharmaceuticals ($SCLN) decided to drop its mid-stage hepatitis C program after the therapy failed to hit its target on reducing the severity of viral infection in a Phase IIb trial. The news trimmed about nine percent off the value of its shares.

CEO Friedhelm Blobel says the Foster City, CA-based company decided to drop SCV-07 as a new therapy for relapsed hep C patients and concentrate on other indications for the drug. "On another front, we continue to be excited about the potential for SCV-07 in the prevention of oral mucositis in patients with head and neck cancer and the initiation of our phase IIb study, which should begin by early 2011," he said. "Our primary focus remains on rapidly growing our commercially successful specialty pharmaceutical business in China and other key emerging markets to increase profitability and generate cash for our shareholders."

Topline results for the hepatitis C study demonstrated a "clear biological signal from SCV-07 but did not meet the study's primary efficacy endpoint of a 2 log reduction in viral load from baseline level."

- check out the SciClone release
- here's the Dow Jones report