ATLANTA -- A clinical trial of Vasogen's ( VSGN) Celacade technology failed its main goal of increasing the distance that patients with peripheral arterial disease can walk.

The phase III trial, dubbed Simpadico, was a follow-up to an earlier trial that showed that Celacade did improve walking distance. The latest trial studied more patients -- 553 vs. the earlier study¿s 85. Vasogen presented its results Sunday at the American College of Cardiology meeting here.  

Peripheral arterial disease causes poor circulation in the legs and pelvis. It can also cause blood clots to travel to the lungs and block blood flow there, a condition known as a pulmonary embolism.

While the Celacade trial did miss its primary goal, the results gave the company and at least one analyst hope for its use elsewhere. Celacade seems to reduce a marker of serious heart problems and inflammation called high sensitivity C-reactive protein. This implies that the drug could reduce a patient's risk of stroke, heart attack and heart failure, said Vasogen CEO David Elsley.

Celacade is currently being tested in 2,400 patients with chronic heart failure and the company expects to report results of that study in late April or early May.  

"PAD is a difficult disease," said biotech and pharmaceuticals analyst Dr. Mark Monane of Needham & Co. Any negative interpretations of the latest data probably will be tempered by the reality that investors¿ expectations for the trial were already modest, he added.  

Monane doesn't own any Vasogen shares but Needham has an investment banking relationship with the company.

Vasogen stock closed Friday down a nickel at $3.03.