An experimental heart drug being developed by biotech Cytokinetics Incorporated (CYTK) in conjunction with Amgen Inc. (AMGN) failed its mid-stage trials, leaving its future uncertain. While Amgen – who are the largest independent biotech in the world and recently closed a $10.4 billion buyout of Onyx Pharamceuticals (ONXX) – shrugged off the bad news, the experimental drug's setback was a huge blow to the much smaller Cytokinetics, and that company has lost almost a quarter of its value on the day.
The experimental drug in question, omecamtiv mecarbil, uses a unique molecule to theoretically treat the shortness of breath experienced by heart failure patients by improving cardiac contractility. However, a 613-patient trial of the intravenous version of the drug failed to produce positive results, and puts the efficacy of the drug, and its future on the market, into question.
In an investment overview released on Aug. 7, Cytopkinetics had warned that omecamtiv mecarbil was still three to four years away from commercialization, but that they hoped to enter Phase III by 2014. With the setback arising from the underwhelming mid-stage trials, however, it now appears unlikely those benchmarks will be met for the intravenous version of the drug. Amgen has said they will continue testing an oral version of the omecamtiv mecarbil, though that as well is still years from the market.
Cytokinetics has one other drug in development called tirametsiv that is designed to treat ALS. That drug is still in Phase IIb trials, and likewise years away from market.
Amgen weathered the news fine, and is up 1.23 to hit $110.28.
Though Amgen has yet to dismiss omecamtiv mecarbil outright, its murky future sent Cytokinetics reeling. Cytokinetics’ stock is down a whopping 24.74 percent to hit $7.91 a share.
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