Human Genome Reports Disappointing Repifermin Results

Its wound-healing drug is not effective in two highly anticipated trials.
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Human Genome Sciences


on Friday reported disappointing results for its experimental wound-healing drug, repifermin.

In a midstage test of the drug on patients suffering from cancer therapy-induced mucositis, Human Genome said it could not determine whether the drug was effective, nor does the company believe that it has discovered the correct dosage rates for it.

The bad news, released at 2 p.m. EST, sent shares of Human Genome plummeting $3.41, or 8.5%, to $36.60 in recent trading.

But on a more positive note, repifermin appears to be safe, the company said.

Mucositis is a painful condition characterized by ulcers in the mouth, throat and digestive tract. The condition is a side effect of drugs used to treat cancer.

Human Genome is also testing repifermin in patients suffering from ulcerative colitis, but again, results were negative. In a midstage clinical trial involving 88 patients, "no evidence that repifermin was effective at the doses and schedule examined in treating patients with active ulcerative colitis was shown in this study," the company said.

The failure of repifermin in two different clinical trials is a major setback for Human Genome because the experimental drug is the product that is furthest along in the testing process.