Zalicus shares swoon after bad data torpedo rheumatoid arthritis drug

Zalicus ($ZLCS) fell into penny stock territory this morning after the biotech--formerly known as CombinatoRx--wrote off its lead drug after failing to find significant efficacy results in a Phase IIb study for rheumatoid arthritis.

"In the absence of a clinically meaningful benefit with Synavive compared to its active glucocorticoid component, Zalicus will discontinue further clinical development with Synavive. These results are not only disappointing to Zalicus, but also to the many steroid-dependent patients who are seeking a safer treatment alternative," said Zalicus CEO Mark H.N. Corrigan. "Going forward we will focus our resources and efforts on advancing the clinical development of our ion channel programs including Z160, our first-in-class treatment for neuropathic pain which recently advanced into the first of two Phase IIa clinical trials, and Z944, our novel, oral, T-type calcium channel blocker which is completing multiple Phase I studies and if successful will advance into Phase II development in the first half of 2013."

Zalicus' alternative R&D plans didn't impress investors, though. The company's shares quickly shed 33% of their value, dropping to a chilling 94 cents a share.

Zalicus changed its name two years ago after CombinatoRx merged with Neuromed Pharmaceuticals. At the time Zalicus had high hopes for the time-released Synavive, with plans to develop the drug in mid-stage studies.

- here's the press release

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