Vectura shares dropped sharply today as the company scrapped a late-stage drug trial aimed at helping severe asthma sufferers.
The abandoned trial will hit Vectura’s loss before tax by £40m, the pharmaceutical company said this morning.
As much as 14 per cent was wiped off the company’s £516m market value, with shares closing down 10.2 per cent at 69.65p.
The VR475 trials, which administered budesonide through a Vectura inhaler, showed some positive results, but not enough to reach statistical significance, the company said.
Vectura still hopes it can find other uses for the combination of the drug and inhaler, possibly to treat other asthma phenotypes.
Professor Tim Harrison, the principal investigator on the trials, said: “The study outcome is disappointing, however the primary endpoint in this difficult-to-treat patient population presented a high hurdle from the outset.
“The results suggest that in these study patients with severe asthma, nebulised budesonide is not an appropriate treatment alternative to biologic therapy.
“Whether there is a specific severe asthma phenotype who could gain greater benefit remains a distinct possibility.
“I believe the technology behind VR475 has the potential to be beneficial in the treatment of a wide range of respiratory diseases including asthma.”
The drug was tested on 713 patients from Europe, the Ukraine and the Philippines.
Researchers hoped that Vectura’s inhalation system would be a quicker way to deliver budesonide into patients’ lungs. They said the system worked as intended, but without the desired effect.
Vectura, which specialises in inhalers, inherited the study when it acquired Activaero in March 2014 in a deal valued at €130m (£115m).