Shares in development stage pharmaceutical group Phytopharm fell sharply on Monday after the company reported that a drug it has been developing to treat Parkinson's disease did not produce any improvements in patients' symptoms during a study.
The company, which has been developing a treatment trademarked 'Cogane', published the results of a study of the drug on unmedicated patients with early stage Parkinson's disease.
Analysis of the headline results indicated that Cogane had "no beneficial effects on patients' symptoms measured by the primary or secondary endpoints in the study", Phtopharm reported.
More than 400 subjects with early-stage Parkinson's disease were randomly allocated to receive Cogane or a placebo which was taken orally once a day for up to 28 weeks.
Three different dosages of Cogane were trialled on patients and measurements were taken during the study to determine the efficacy, safety and tolerability of each dose of Cogane.
The company reported: "No statistically significant effects or trends towards improvement were seen in any of these endpoints. Analysis of the results indicates that the study was well conducted and gave a clear, albeit negative result."
Professor C Warren Olanow, Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience at Mount Sinai Medical School and Co-chief Investigator for the study commented: "This is disappointing news for the Parkinson disease community. Trophic factors that enhance and restore function to remaining nerve cells is an extremely promising approach for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease.
Cogane offered the potential of providing trophic effects throughout the brain with an oral medication that was relatively safe and well tolerated. The company is to be congratulated for carrying out this important study in such a high-quality manner. Sadly, the results are negative. Nonetheless, the search for more effective therapies for the millions of patients who suffer from Parkinson's disease must continue."
Tim Sharpington, Chief Executive Officer of Phytopharm, added: "We are naturally disappointed with the outcome of this study of Cogane in patients with Parkinson's disease. Cogane had demonstrated encouraging efficacy in a wide range of industry standard pre-clinical models but this promise has not translated into clinically meaningful efficacy in this study.
"I would like to thank the investigators who conducted the trial, our collaborators and especially the patients who participated in the study, along with the Parkinson's disease community and all our stakeholders who have supported the development of Cogane.
Over the coming weeks, he said that the company would further analyse the results with its scientific advisors to better understand whether to continue the development of Cogane and Myogane.
Phytopharm's share price was down 80.5% to 1.95p at 10:52 on Monday.