* Lead drug meets key goal in mid-stage trial
* Misses statistical significance on one measure
* CEO says measure not important, too many people included
* Shares fall 19 pct, analyst say “buy” (Adds background on drug license)
LONDON, Nov 19 (Reuters) - The head of lupus specialist ImmuPharma (IMM.L) said mid-stage trial results for its lead drug were encouraging and should not have prompted a 19 percent drop in the share price on Thursday.
“People have misunderstood some of the points,” Chief Executive Dimitri Dimitriou said of the trial, which was for its Lupuzor drug, adding there are two sets of figures and one set includes people who should not have been counted.
“We modified the criteria for entry for the patients ... but some of the centres kept on recruiting patients and actually these patients should not be part of the real measurement,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview.
The results showed that on a once-a-month dose the drug met its goal in 62 percent of the moderate to severe subgroup — which Dimitriou said was the group that the study was aimed at.
However on the same dose the drug met its goal in 53 percent of a wider group, which included patients Dimitriou said should not have been in the trial.
“We will use that as a good buying opportunity to build a position in the stock,” said Panmure analyst Savvas Neophytou in a note to clients.
Nomura Code analyst Gary Waanders said: “The fact is the clinical data and the statistical data everywhere else is all good so I think it should only be seen positively.”
The worldwide rights to Lupuzor were licensed to Cephalon CEPH.O in February this year in a deal worth $30 million plus milestone and royalty payments. [ID:nRnsB6468M]
By 12.07 GMT shares were down 19 percent to 111 pence, reaching a month low, and valuing the company at about 86 million pounds ($143.3 million). (Reporting by Ben Deighton; editing by Elaine Hardcastle) ($1=.6002 POUND)