Shares in Swiss pharmaceutical giant dipped today after disappointing results from its late-stage Alzheimer’s drug.
The drug, known as Gantenerumab, was seen as a high-risk but high-reward drug, according to Sebastian Skeet, senior healthcare analyst at investment research firm Third Bridge.
However, the treatment failed to slow the progression of dementia across two ongoing trials.
The trials, which lasted more than two years and involved nearly 2,000 participants, compared scores of cognition and function in areas such as memory, orientation and problem-solving.
Shares in Roche tumbled 3.9 per cent to 313.65 Swiss Franc per share today.
MorphoSys, the German biotechnology firm Roche had partnered with on the drug, suffered a more significant blow to its share price – plunging just under a third to €14.80.
“Previous experts noted that if Gantenerumab trials were successful “Subcutaneous is going to win” due to the logistical burden of IV coupled with a very large potential patient population,” Skeet continued, adding that “it’s unlikely there’s much life left in this therapy”.
Credit Suisse analysts, who had previously seen a 20 per cent chance of the drug reaching $10bn (£8.4bn) in peak annual sales, called failure of the long-awaited trial as “unequivocal”.
Investors are expected to turn to the Japan’s Eisai and Biogen’s partnership and Eli Lilly, now Roche as a key competitor has been knocked out of the race.
The news comes just weeks after clinical trial results from a drug, called Lecanemab, developed jointly by Biogen – which recently tapped Sanofi’s boss as its new chief executive – and Eisai, reduced cognitive and functional decline by 27 per cent compared with a placebo.