NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Zalicus (ZLCS) were decimated during Monday trading on the news it would cease development of its experimental pain drug Z160.

The biopharmaceutical company said results from two Phase II clinical studies showed Z160 failed to demonstrate a benefit over placebo for patients suffering lower back pain or shingles-related pain. No negative side effects were reported.

"Despite its promising preclinical profile, Z160 was unable to translate those results into clinical efficacy," said Zalicus CEO Mark Corrigan in a statement.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based business will discontinue its Z160 program and reallocate resources to focus on getting Z944, an oral non-opioid painkiller, to Phase II stage by next year. Research into non-opioid medicines has become more important as an alternative to potentially-addictive drugs such as morphine and oxycodone.

By late morning, the stock had crashed 70.4% to $1.39.

--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff.