(Adds details, share movement)
March 4 Xoma Corp said it would not
proceed with late-stage studies of its lead drug, gevokizumab,
as a treatment for a form arthritis of the hand, after data from
two mid-stage studies showed that the drug was not effective
The company's shares fell about 20 percent to $7.60 after
the bell on Tuesday.
The studies compared gevokizumab with placebo and assessed
if the drug improved pain, stiffness and physical function in
the hand when injected once a month.
The company said patients given the placebo showed a greater
improvement than patients treated with the drug in the final
three months of one of the studies.
Xoma said its analyses of the study did not show a
significant drug-related benefit even after six months.
Data from a second study showed weaker results than the
first study after 84 days of treatment.
The company said the drug was well-tolerated and there were
no serious side-effects.
Common side-effects, including headache, pain and urinary
tract infections, were comparable between patients who used
gevokizumab and those on placebo.
The company said it would review data from the mid-stage
studies to determine if there were some patients who responded
to the drug, before it starts additional studies in patients
with erosive osteoarthritis of the hand.
Xoma said it would focus on completing late-stage studies of
the drug as a treatment for an eye disease known as
non-infectious uveitis, and starting late-stage development of
the drug to treat pyoderma gangrenosum, a rare skin disease.
The company is also testing the drug to treat another form
of eye disease, acne and autoimmune ear disease.
Gevokizumab is an antibody, which binds to a protein that
causes inflammation and modulates signaling between cells that
The company's shares closed at $9.44 on Tuesday on the
(Reporting By Vrinda Manocha in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb