UPDATE 1-Forest pneumonia drug achieves goal in 2 trials

Fri Jun 19, 2009 2:23pm EDT

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* Clinical cure rate of 84.3 pct vs 77.7 pct

* FDA filing expected by end of year

LOS ANGELES, June 19 (Reuters) - Forest Laboratories Inc FRX.N said on Friday its experimental antibiotic proved to be at least as effective as an older medicine in pneumonia patients, reaching its main goal in two late-stage trials.

Forest said its drug, ceftaroline, was well tolerated and met its primary goal of similar effectiveness and high clinical cure rates compared with ceftriaxone in patients with moderate to severe community-acquired, bacterial pneumonia requiring hospitalization.

Ceftaroline is a member of the cephalosporin family of antibiotics meant to work against gram-positive bacteria, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and gram-negative bacteria.

Integrated data from the two Phase III trials, which involved 1,241 patients, showed a clinical cure rate in evaluable patients of 84.3 percent for the ceftaroline group and 77.7 percent for the ceftriaxone group, Forest said in a statement.

The company said the pneumonia data, along with earlier results from trials of the drug as a treatment for skin infections, will serve as the basis for a new drug application to be filed with U.S. regulators around the end of this year.

Shares of Forest were up 35 cents, or 1.5 percent, at $24.55 on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Deena Beasley)

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