Acura investors feel the pain as abuse-deterrence tech flops in PhII

Shares of Acura Pharmaceuticals ($ACUR) took a drubbing overnight after the biotech reported the failure of a midstage study of a painkiller designed to reduce its appeal for abuse.

The biotech says its AVERSION H&A tablets include inactive ingredients intended to stop people from crushing and snorting the painkiller. The developer recruited 40 recreational drug abusers to assess the abuse liability of snorting a crushed hydrocodone bitartrate with acetaminophen tablet but found only a "slightly lower numeric mean maximum drug liking" for their version that was not statistically significant. 

The failure isn't stopping Acura from filing the drug with the FDA, at least not yet. But "given the absence of statistical significance in Study 301's primary endpoint relating to maximum drug liking, the timeline for submission of a New Drug Application for AVERSION H&A is expected to be delayed."

That's not what investors wanted to hear. The stock plunged more than 30% on the news and as of midmorning Tuesday was down about 18%.

- here's the release