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Roche Halts Maxygen Drug Trial

Shares of the biotech fall after Roche puts hepatitis treatment MAXY-alpha on clinical development hold.

Biotechnology company

Maxygen

(MAXY)

slid 15% on news that

Roche

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put on hold clinical development for MAXY-alpha, a treatment for Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B virus infections.

Maxygen, which licenses the drug to Roche, said that in the phase I trial they observed a reduction of efficacy in the majority of patients who received two doses of MAXY-alpha.

"We don't yet know how this will impact the future timing or advancement of the program. Roche has now started additional work to assess the meaning and significance of these results. We will provide an update once all relevant information is collected and evaluated," said Russell Howard, Maxygen's chief executive officer in a release on Friday.

Maxygen and Roche entered a co-development agreement in 2003, and Roche licensed worldwide commercialization rights to specific novel interferon product candidates for Hepatitis C and B virus infections. Maxygen received an initial payment, R&D funding for the first two years of the collaboration and milestone payments for the advancement of the MAXY-alpha product candidate. Maxygen is also eligible to receive milestone payments and royalties based on any product sales.

Maxygen slid $1.24, or 15%, to $7.