Biohaven’s neurological disorder drug candidate fails study

The logo for Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Company is displayed on a screen during the company’s IPO on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Sept 27 (Reuters) – Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Co Ltd (BHVN.N) said on Monday its drug candidate, verdiperstat, failed to show effectiveness in treating a rare neurological disorder called multiple system atrophy (MSA).

The drugmaker had acquired the rights to develop and market verdiperstat from AstraZeneca (AZN.L) in 2018 following mid-stage clinical trials.

Shares of the company, however, reversed course after falling as much as 2.5%. They were last trading about 0.5% higher at $134, as of 12:07 p.m. ET.

Wall Street analysts said the expectations from verdiperstat’s trial were low and the focus remained on the marketing of Biohaven’s oral drug Nurtec ODT, which entered the crowded market for migraine drugs in March last year and brought in about $93 million in sales during the second quarter.

“Given the results and commentary in the press release, it appears (that the) management will be terminating all development of verdiperstat in this indication, which, we believe, makes sense,” Mizuho analyst Vamil Divan said in a client note.

MSA shares many Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms, such as slow movement and poor balance and can eventually lead to death, according to the Mayo Clinic.

There are currently no therapies that target the underlying disease for MSA, the company said while explaining that the disorder affects body’s involuntary functions such as blood pressure and breathing.

Biohaven also said additional analyses are still pending and full-study results will be presented at an upcoming scientific meeting.

Meanwhile, in an ongoing clinical trial to test verdiperstat in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) — a neurological disorder known as Lou Gehrig’s disease — the company expects to complete patient enrollment in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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