Resverlogix ($RVX) fell hard this afternoon on news that the company fell short in a midstage study of its lead HDL cholesterol-boosting drug. The Calgary-based biotech company said the Phase IIb study of RVX-208 failed to meet the goal of change in percent of atheroma volume in patients with a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
The news triggered an immediate selloff of the stock, causing the price to nosedive within minutes by more than 90% to less than $0.20C on the Toronto exchange.
As with many trial failures across therapeutics areas, Resverlogix cited an unexpectedly high placebo rate among patients in the study of RXV-208. The 324-patient study met its secondary endpoints of regression in atheroma volume and jumps in Apolipoprotein A-I and HDL cholesterol.
"Together with the study's principal investigators, we remain focused on analyzing the full data set over the coming weeks and months to determine whether continued development of RVX-208 in cardiovascular disease is warranted," said Donald McCaffrey, the company's CEO, in a press release.
Last summer, Resverlogix touted upbeat top-line data from an earlier Phase IIb study of RVX-208, an oral BET-protein inhibitor, in raising HDL cholesterol. The company took out a $25 million loan to fund the ASSURE trial with the disappointing results announced today. The failure follows the crash of Roche's ($RHHBY) Phase III program last May for a CETP drug called dalcetrapib, which was also designed to raise the kind of cholesterol that rids plaques form vessels. Merck ($MRK) and Eli Lilly ($LLY) have invested in developing similar drugs.
- here's the release