VBL craters after PhII psoriasis and ulcerative colitis flops, decision to punt drug

It took a while for VBL Therapeutics ($VBLT) to actually complete its IPO last year. And this morning it may be wishing it hadn't succeeded as its stock price crashed following the failure of its midstage studies of a new drug for psoriasis and ulcerative colitis.

VBL, the operative name for Israel's Vascular Biogenics, says it's dumping VB-201 after the therapy flopped in the Phase IIs, and will now be able to concentrate on its lead therapy, VB-111, which is moving ahead in a Phase III for glioblastoma, the most common type of brain cancer.

Its stock cratered 45% as the news spread that the placebo had performed better than the drug in the trials.

VBL can move ahead with VB-111 now, the company said in a related announcement, because the FDA removed its clinical hold on the drug. The hold was put in place after the FDA requested "submission of additional properties regarding the VB-111 potency assay developed by VBL."

Last fall the troubled VBL was forced to settle for a $40 million IPO after it bailed on the effort earlier in the year when a major investor failed to come up with the money to complete a stock purchase.

"We believe that this drug candidate (VB-111) has significant potential as an anti-angiogenic agent for the treatment of cancer and we look forward to initiating the trial," commented VBL CEO Dror Harats. "We are disappointed by the outcome of these Phase II studies in psoriasis and ulcerative colitis. Immune-inflammatory conditions are difficult-to-treat diseases with a limited array of effective treatments. We were honored to work with an excellent team of clinical investigators and would like to thank the patients who participated in the clinical studies for these drug candidates."

- here's the release

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