Dermira to abandon acne drug, shares crater

(Reuters) - Dermira Inc will discontinue development of its acne drug after the treatment failed to meet the main goals of two late-stage studies, the company said on Monday.

The company’s shares plunged more than 63 percent to a record of $9.21 in early trade, wiping $667 million off its market value.

The drug, olumacostat glasaretil, did not show statistically significant effect in treating patients aged nine and older with moderate to severe acne in both the studies.

“This outcome is highly surprising given that two prior Phase II trials were positive and consistent,” Mizuho analyst Irina Koffler wrote in a client note, adding that there was nothing “salvageable” in the data.

Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

The company, after two successful late-stage studies, has also been expecting approval for its excessive armpit sweating drug, glycopyrronium tosylate, by the set goal date of June 30.

The launch of glycopyrronium tosylate and the mid-stage study of an eczema drug will not be affected by Monday’s acne drug results, the Menlo Park, California-based company said on a conference call.

However, analysts were skeptical about the two indications.

“I’ll acknowledge investor feedback on both of those indications has been lukewarm,” Umer Raffat of Evercore ISI wrote in a note.

Other companies that are developing acne treatments include Novan Inc and Foamix Inc.

Last year, Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc abandoned its acne drug after its treatment failed to meet the main goal in a mid-stage study.

Reporting by Akankshita Mukhopadhyay in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel