Phytopharm plummets after Parkinson’s drug fails in trials

City A.M. Reporter
BIOTECH firm Phytopharm said yesterday its major drug hope for treating Parkinson’s disease had failed in a clinical trial, the latest in a string of firms to disappoint after showing early promise.

Shares in Phytopharm fell more than 80 per cent yesterday after it said its drug, Cogane, showed no benefit over placebo in the treatment of more than 400 patients with early-stage Parkinson’s, a neurodegenerative disease.

Chief executive Tim Sharpington said he was disappointed.

“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,” he said.

Phytopharm hoped its compounds had the potential to be a new class of therapy for neurodegenerative diseases, motor neuron disease and glaucoma. Cogane demonstrated neuroprotective effects in preclinical models, the company had said, with indications that it could ease the symptoms and slow the progression of Parkinson’s, a condition where part of the brain becomes more damaged over time.

Phytopharm said yesterday it had halted all research and development spending while it reviewed its drugs pipeline.

Analyst Paul Cuddon at Peel Hunt said the result was a failure for Phytopharm’s key asset, and he attributed no value to the group’s remaining pipeline of drugs.

Shares in the firm lost 81 per cent of their value yesterday, closing at 1.9p.