September 7, 2017 / 3:29 PM / 2 years ago

AbbVie's positive eczema study drags down Regeneron's shares

FILE PHOTO: A trader works by the post that trades AbbVie on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange March 5, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - AbbVie Inc said on Thursday its experimental drug to treat adults with moderate-to-severe eczema met the main goal in a mid-stage study, dragging down shares of rival U.S. biotech firm Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic skin inflammation, which in severe cases causes constant and often unbearable itching.

Regeneron’s eczema drug, Dupixent, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in March.

AbbVie’s mid-stage trial data for its drug, upadacitinib, seemed comparable to Dupixent’s late-stage data, but the difference in the two studies’ sample sizes made direct comparisons imprecise, Jefferies analyst Berin Amin said.

“Nonetheless, we expect upadacitinib to compete with Dupixent,” Amin added.

Upadacitinib showed a statistically significant improvement in reducing both the severity of eczema in patients and the amount of body area affected by the disease, AbbVie said.

Shares of AbbVie, which plans a late-stage study for upadacitinib next year, were up 2.8 percent at $79.23 in late morning trading.

Regeneron’s shares were down 5.2 percent at $474.08.

Reporting by Akankshita Mukhopadhyay in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar

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