Catalyst Plunges After Addiction Drug Trial Fails
NEW YORK (AP) ¿ Shares of Catalyst Pharmaceutical Partners Inc. plunged Friday after the company reported an unsuccessful trial of a drug it is developing to treat cocaine addiction.
The Coral Gables, Fla., company was testing a drug called vigabatrin, or CPP-109, to see if it could help addicts stay off cocaine. But during the last two weeks of the 12-week trial, patients who used vigabatrin were not significantly more likely to remain cocaine-free than patients who took a placebo.
In morning trading, shares of Catalyst fell $1.12, or 53.3 percent, to 98 cents. The stock hit a low of 63 cents in heavy volume. Catalyst shares had traded between $1.06 and $4.52 over the past year.
In a note to clients, Merriman Curhan Ford analyst Edward Nash downgraded Catalyst shares to "Sell" from "Buy," saying he was surprised by the failure and no longer believes the company has the right opportunity or medicine to develop a treatment for addiction.The company is continuing to analyze data from the midstage trial. While it was disappointed with the results, it has not decided whether it will continue developing the drug to treat cocaine addiction. Vigabatrin is also being tested as a treatment for addiction to methamphetamine.
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