Company Pulls Drug for Lou Gehrig's Disease
Biogen ends development after it fails drug trial
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 3, 2013 12:08 PM CST
Pedestrians pass Biogen Idec Inc. headquarters in Cambridge, Mass., in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, file)

(Newser) – An experimental drug that showed promise of becoming the first effective treatment for Lou Gehrig’s Disease is being pulled by its manufacturer because it performed miserably in a major drug trial. Biogen says its drug, dexpramipexole, did nothing to improve the condition of patients or extend their lives, reports Reuters. The only drug used to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Rilutek, offers only a modest benefit to patients, most of whom die within two to five years of diagnosis.

“As a physician who has treated people with ALS, I hoped with all my heart for a different outcome,” says a top Biogen researcher. “While these results were not what we expected, we hope these data will provide a foundation for future ALS research.” Biogen had been on a roll, with its stock rising 25% last year alone, but today’s news sank shares by more than 3%, reports Bloomberg.

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Showing 3 of 4 comments
Jan 5, 2013 1:02 PM CST
Instead of taking it off the market, why not tweek it and experiment more? The patients are already facing a certain death, so if nothing works they aren't worse off. My husband died from Lou Gehrig's and he tried anything and everything. Don't take away hope, no matter how small it is.
Jan 3, 2013 1:53 PM CST
didnt know there was a large market for people wanting Lou Gherigs disease. Speaking of, How ironic is it that Lou Gherig had Lou Gherigs disease
Jan 3, 2013 1:16 PM CST
Until the actual cause and mechanism are discovered this type of disappointment will be all too common. Same with Alzheimer's, PArkinson's, and pretty much every other neurodegenerative disease. Probably the best shot is to identify the very early stages of such disease and research preventing or minimizing progression. That's the direction in Alzheimer's research it seems.