Sucampo shares slide after its lead experimental drug flunks a PhIIa test

Sucampo
(Sucampo)

Shares of Sucampo Pharmaceuticals ($SCMP) slumped Tuesday morning after the biotech reported that its lead experimental drug flubbed a Phase IIa trial, forcing investigators to shutter the program.

Sucampo’s stock was down about 20% in premarket trading as investors reacted to the news that cobiprostone failed to meaningfully improve heartburn symptoms for proton pump inhibitor-resistant non-erosive reflux disease (NERD) or symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux disease (sGERD).

But the drug--a chloride channel activator--isn’t dead.

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“While these data did not support the advancement of cobiprostone in this indication, the data did demonstrate that cobiprostone was well-tolerated, and this is consistent with our earlier Phase I studies,” said Rockville, MD-based Sucampo CSO Peter Kiener in a statement. “We plan to continue our development of cobiprostone in our ongoing Phase IIa study for the prevention of oral mucositis--a disorder with very different underlying pathophysiology and clinical endpoints. This development plan includes a futility analysis on the ongoing trial in the second half of this year.”

Sucampo has been developing a market for its constipation drug Amitiza. Jason Gerberry at Leerink recently estimated 2019 sales of that drug at $500 million, adding that the cobiprostone study was probably its most important pipeline catalyst this year.

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