BioCryst's genetic disorder drug fails study, shares slump

(Reuters) - Drug developer BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc said its lead drug failed to reduce the frequency of recurrent swelling in patients with hereditary angioedema, a rare genetic condition.

The company’s shares slumped 41.7 percent to $3.58 in premarket trading on Monday.

BioCryst said patients administered either a 500 mg or 300 mg dose of the drug, avoralstat, in a trial did not have a lower rate of edema, or swelling attacks, than patients given a placebo.

Avoralstat treats hereditary angioedema, a rare, potentially fatal genetic disease that occurs in about 1 in 10,000 to 50,000 people, according to the company.

The disease causes recurrent swelling bouts in various parts of the body such as hands, face and genitalia. Patients’ abdominal walls can also swell, leading to nausea and vomiting.

All other drugs on the market for the condition are in form of injectibles, while avoralstat is meant to be administered orally.

BioCryst said the 500 mg and 300 mg dosages of avoralstat were not viable formulations with which it could progress.

The company is running another trial, testing other doses of the drug and results are expected by the middle of the year.

Reporting by Amrutha Penumudi in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza