Infinity scraps an arthritis program after lead drug fails PhII

Shares of Infinity Pharmaceuticals ($INFI) took a hit this morning after the company conceded that its mid-stage effort to advance its lead drug duvelisib for rheumatoid arthritis flopped on all three doses that were tried out. Infinity says that it will now scrub the RA program and stay focused on its late-stage deal with AbbVie ($ABBV) to move duvelisib through the clinic for blood cancers.

Duvelisib emerged as Infinity's lead drug after a string of earlier failures at the biotech. In this go-round, investigators set out to determine of the PI3K delta/gamma inhibitor could help rheumatoid arthritis patients after 12 weeks of therapy, using doses of 0.5 mg, 1.0 mg or 5.0 mg twice daily in a study that enrolled 322 patients.

The Cambridge, MA-based biotech's stock slid 11% on news of the failure.

The company, helmed by Adelene Perkins, has had plenty of experience with clinical failures. Saridegib was scrapped in 2012 and its mid-stage Hsp90 inhibitor program for lung cancer flopped in 2013. That left duvelisib, which was shoved into the spotlight last year after AbbVie stepped in to do a licensing deal for blood cancer with a rich, $275 million upfront and $405 million in milestones.

Infinity's web site lists 6 studies for duvelisib for blood cancers, including Phase IIIs in non-Hodgkin lymphoma patents and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

- here's the release

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