Axovant shares plummet after reporting negative results for Alzheimer’s Treatment

Axovant Sciences (NASDAQ: AXON) announced on Tuesday its clinical results for phase 3 of intepirdine to treat mild to moderate patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Axovant reported that the clinical trials did not meet the primary endpoints, sending shares down over 70 percent in premarket.

At 24 weeks, patients who were treated with 35 mg of intepirdine did not experience improvement in cognition as well as daily life activities on the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale and Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study-Activities of Daily Living scale.

Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most common form of dementia, is a chronic, progressive neurodegenerative disorder that worsens over time. It is the fifth leading cause of death among people age 65 years and older in the U.S. According to the Alzheimer's Association, about 5.5 million people in the U.S. today are affected by AD, and it expected to triple by 2050.

Intepirdine would prevent the release of acetylcholine in the brain. This neurotransmitter is believed to be critical for memory and other thoughts. At higher doses, intepirdine also blocks the 5-HT receptor, according to Axovant’s statement.

"While we are deeply disappointed by these trial results, we also are saddened for the millions of patients and families impacted by Alzheimer's disease. However, we believe that the fight against Alzheimer's and other important areas of unmet need in neurology is too important to be derailed by this setback," said David Hung, M.D., chief executive officer of Axovant.

According to Forbes, many investors became skeptical of Axovant, noting, shares rarely trades above $16 during its IPO launch. But shares have doubled to $24.25 year-to-date. Due to the success, investors began to unload their money into intepirdine research. If the study had succeeded, shares might have soared as high as $100; as it is, they could trade down toward Axovant’s cash position of $3.

Wall Street analysts projected the drug to have more than $2 billion in sales.

After the failed trial of the drug, Hung, now looks into focusing on other clinical treatments which involve the use of intepirdine to treat patients with dementia with Lewy bodies.

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