* Company expects negative CHMP decision on defibrotide
* Stock down 41 percent in pre-market Nasdaq trading
LONDON Feb 21 Shares in Italian biotech company
Gentium plunged more than 40 percent after it failed to
convince European regulators of the benefits of its most
advanced drug candidate for a rare liver condition.
Gentium, which is based in Como and listed on Nasdaq, said
it expected an opinion recommending against approval of
defibrotide from the European Medicines Agency's Committee for
Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP).
The news sent Gentium stock 41 percent lower to $7.00 in
"While not a final decision, the company considers it
unlikely that this position will change before the formal vote
is undertaken next month," Gentium said in a statement.
"If a formal negative recommendation is issued, and
depending upon the nature of the objections, the company may
appeal such negative decision."
Investor hopes have been pinned on defibrotide since it
would be the first drug approved for hepatic veno-occlusive
disease (VOD), a rare a condition in which some veins in the
liver are blocked as a result of cancer therapy given prior to
stem cell transplants.
Gentium's drug, based on single-stranded DNA extracted from
pig intestines, has not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and