(Adds analysts' comments; updates share movement)
By Vrinda Manocha
Feb 18 Shares of Prana Biotechnology Ltd
rose as much as 31 percent after the company
said its experimental brain disorder drug improved cognitive
function in a study on patients with Huntington's disease.
The mid-stage trial tested two doses of the drug, PBT2, in
109 patients with the degenerative brain disorder, with a higher
dose improving executive function as measured on a clinical
"In a small trial, you don't expect to hit statistical
significance on a secondary endpoint of efficacy," MLV & Co
analyst Graig Suvannavejh told Reuters. "You would hope at best
to see positive trends."
Prana said on Tuesday that the drug met the main goals of
safety and tolerability in the trial, and that there were no
substantial differences in adverse events in patients treated
with the drug, and those on placebo.
Suvannavejh said the drug could generate $500 million in
annual sales if approved.
Lundbeck's Xenazine, the only approved treatment
for Huntington's disease, recorded sales of about 1.2 billion
Danish crowns ($220 million) in 2012.
The drug only treats involuntary movements associated with
the disease and side-effects include depression, suicidal
thoughts and actions.
Huntington's disease is estimated to affect about one of
every 10,000 Americans, according to Huntington's Disease
Society of America, a voluntary health organization. Every child
of a person with the disease has a 50 percent change of
inheriting the gene that causes it.
Prana said it would start a late-stage study of the drug to
treat Huntington's disease. The company is also testing the drug
in a mid-stage study for Alzheimer's disease.
The Australia-based company's shares touched a high of $9.46
on the Nasdaq. Over 10 million shares changed hands by 1100 ET,
about nine times their 10-day moving average.
($1 = 5.4456 Danish crowns)
(Reporting By Vrinda Manocha in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj