Ohr touts visual acuity results as PhII eye study fails primary goal

Shares of Ohr Pharmaceutical slipped and then bounced back this morning after the biotech announced that a mid-stage study of Squalamine eye drops failed the primary endpoint in reducing the number of injections of Lucentis among patients with wet, age-related macular degeneration. The New York-based biotech touted an improvement in visual acuity among the small group of patients in the Phase II trial, which drew a few cheers among the analysts following the company.

Patients in the study received Lucentis on an as-needed basis, with the drug arm getting Squalamine. The drops, though, failed to make any difference on injections when compared with a placebo. But the company ($OHRP) heralded the study as a success on the acuity numbers and at least one analyst agreed.

"We believe that showing visual acuity improvements is far more meaningful to a wet AMD patient than reducing the number of injections, especially when the frequency of injections is already low," Brean Capital analyst Jonathan Aschoff wrote in a note, according to a report from Reuters.

"The beneficial effects of Squalamine on visual acuity that we've seen thus far, through its inhibition of multiple angiogenic growth factors and pathways, and in particular, the improvement in gains of three or more lines in vision compared with the placebo group, are truly remarkable," said Dr. Jason Slakter, the CMO of Ohr, in a statement. "Visual acuity is the most clinically relevant endpoint for back-of-the-eye disorders. For wet-AMD patients, such enhanced gains of visual acuity over standard-of-care anti-VEGF treatments, and the restoration of vision lost to this devastating disease of the elderly using a convenient eye drop therapy is a very important clinical outcome."

- here's the release
- here's the Reuters story