CombinatoRx Inc. is discontinuing work on its oral psoriasis drug, CRx-104, after Phase II data failed to show statistical significance.

The 103-patient trial compared a 12-week treatment of CRx-104, a syncretic drug comprised of a low dose of cyclosporine and loratadine, to a low-dose cyclosporine, with the primary endpoint measured by the Physician Global Assessment (PGA) scale and a secondary endpoint measured by the Psoriasis Area Severity Index (PASI). Early data showed that patients receiving CRx-104 did not demonstrate a significant reduction in PGA and PASI vs. patients in the control group.

As a result, the Boston-based firm decided to stop clinical development of the drug in psoriasis, and instead, focus its resources on the other drugs in its pipeline for treating immuno-inflammatory diseases and cancer.

The company has six other product candidates in Phase II studies, including CRx-139, a selective steroid amplifier (SSA) consisting of prednisolone and an undisclosed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor; CRx-119, which combines prednisolone with amoxapine; and CRx-170, another SSA made of two undisclosed drugs; among others.

Three weeks ago, CombinatoRx reported positive data from another Phase II study, this one testing CRx-102, an SSA made of prednisolone and dipyridamole, in patients with osteoarthritis of the hand. The drug showed statistical significance in reducing pain relief, and the news pushed the company’s stock (NASDAQ:CRXX) up more than 12 percent to close that day at $12.48. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 31, 2006.)

Two additional Phase II trials are evaluating CRx-102 in rheumatoid arthritis and chronic adult periodontitis.

CombinatoRx, which raised $42 million when it went public in November, designs drugs using its combination drug discovery technology to combine existing products in several disease areas. The company has a potential $500 million collaboration with Vancouver, British Columbia-based Angiotech Pharmaceuticals Inc. for up to 10 CombinatoRx compounds, and recently signed a partnership with Paris-based Fovea Pharmaceuticals SA for the development and commercialization of combination drugs to treat ophthalmic diseases. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 5, 2005.)

Shares of CombinatoRx closed Wednesday at $12.54, down 66 cents.

No Comments