Biohaven's drug for neurological disease fails late-stage study

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The logo for Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Company is displayed on a screen during the company's IPO on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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May 23 (Reuters) - Biohaven Pharmaceutical (BHVN.N) said on Monday its experimental drug for patients with spinocerebellar ataxia, a genetic disease that affects the nervous system, failed to meet the main goal of a late-stage study.

Spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) is a progressive disorder caused by the degeneration of cells in the brain and spinal cord and can lead to symptoms such as uncoordinated movement and muscle wasting. It has no approved treatments in the United States.

The main goal in the Biohaven study measured the change in severity of symptoms among patients who took the drug, troriluzole, from the baseline to week 48 of treatment.

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Biohaven said patients in both the drug and placebo group showed a less-than-expected change in disease progression, which led to the study not reaching statistical significance.

But troriluzole showed some benefit compared with placebo in patients with SCA Type 3 - the most common form of the disease, Biohaven said.

The company plans to share the data on the subtype with regulators and said it would work with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on a path forward for the drug.

Biohaven earlier this month agreed to be bought by Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) in a $11.6 billion deal that underscored the buyer's confidence in its commercial migraine drug. read more

Separately, the company said on Monday the U.S. FDA has accepted the marketing application for its zavegepant nasal spray to treat migraine in adults, with a decision expected in the first quarter of 2023.

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Reporting by Leroy Leo and Amruta Khandekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni

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