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

(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.

Pedestrians pass Biogen Idec Inc. headquarters in Cambridge, Mass., in this file photo.
Pedestrians pass Biogen Idec Inc. headquarters in Cambridge, Mass., in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, file)
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