Although disappointing preliminary results of Phase III trials ofBetaKine for treatment of macular holes sent the stock of Celtrix'sPharmaceuticals Inc. into a deep dive Monday, the Santa Clara,Calif., company reported more encouraging data Tuesday.Celtrix is testing BetaKine, a recombinant transforming growthfactor beta-2, for use in surgery to repair holes in the retina. Macularholes are a potentially blinding disorder. The company said Mondaythat analysis of three-month follow-up data from the Phase III studyshowed BetaKine had no statistically significant effect on tissuerepair and vision when patients treated with the drug were comparedwith those who received a placebo.But Celtrix officials said they will continue to evaluate patients overthe next nine months as originally planned. They added that based onsuccessful Phase II studies, they hoped to see greater improvementsin the BetaKine patients in the succeeding follow-up analyses.On Tuesday at the American Academy of Ophthalmology's annualmeeting in San Francisco, clinical investigators presented findingsfrom another study involving use of BetaKine for treatment ofpatients who previously failed vitrectomy for macular holes.The data, based on an average seven-month follow-up of patientstreated with BetaKine, showed that 83 percent of the eyes receivingrepeat surgery showed retinal repair, 52 percent showed improvedvision and 56 achieved final vision of 20/63 or better.In a prepared statement, Celtrix president and CEO DaleStringfellow said, "It's clinical results like these that cause us toremain optimistic about the prospects for BetaKine."After Celtrix's stock Monday dropped 63 percent to close at $2.44,shares Tuesday were up 50 cents to $2.94. _ Charles Craig
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