Published: Jan 7, 2015 6:46 p.m. ET
Treatment designed to help kidney patients accept new organs
Alexion By RUSS BRITT
LOS ANGELES BUREAU CHIEF
LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) — Shares of Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. fell in after-hours trades after the drug maker said its plan to use its Soliris blood-clotting treatment to help kidney transplant patients accept their new organ didn’t meet its goals in the second phase of testing.
Alexion ALXN, +0.26% lost nearly 5% to $178.90 in late trading. The stock had risen 5.6% during Wednesday’s regular session.
Soliris, generically known as eculizumab, did not provide statistically meaningful results for patients who received new kidneys and needed the medication to help prevent antibody mediated rejection, or AMR. The condition, essentially the rejection of the transplanted organ, can be life-threatening and reportedly shows up in more than 40% of high-risk living-donor kidney transplant recipients.
“We expect to complete the data analyses and discuss these results with regulators, and are currently developing plans to commence a clinical trial with eculizumab as a treatment for patients diagnosed with AMR,” Alexion’s research chief Martin Mackay said in a prepared statement.
The trial included 102 patients who received kidney transplants and risked the prospect of AMR. Half were given Soliris and half received other kinds of treatment. Just under 10% of patients receiving Soliris reached the necessary milestones while 15.7% of those getting other types of treatment met their goals.
Though shares tumbled after hours, Cowen analyst Eric Schmidt said in a note to clients that use of Soliris for transplant patients represents a limited market opportunity. The drug has been on the market since 2007 to treat excessive destruction of red blood cells and excessive clotting.
“Moreover, because reimbursement in the kidney transplantation market is capitated (a fixed-rate per procedure), the inclusion of a novel, high-price biologic was always going to be associated with significant headwinds,” Schmidt said. “As a result, we had not included any estimates from this indication in our model.”