Alcobra Placebo Beats Drug in Failed Genetic Disease Study

TEL AVIV, Israel (TheStreet) -- Count with me the ways in which Alcobra's (ADHD) experimental drug MDX failed to benefit patients with Fragile X syndrome, a genetic disease which causes intellectual and behavioral disabilities:

MDX missed the primary endpoint of the phase II study. In fact, placebo patients performed better, Alcobra admitted.

On two related, secondary endpoints, MDX was also unable to differentiate from placebo.

Alcobra then analyzed the negative study using another five measures of efficacy. On two of these tertiary endpoints, MDX managed to demonstrate a "statistically significant" benefit compared to placebo.

Add it all up: MDX outperformed placebo on two of eight measures of efficacy in Fragile X patients, Alcobra said. On the most important primary efficacy measure, the placebo used in the study beat MDX.

Yaron Daniel, Alcobra's CEO, called this a "positive finding" and a "clinically meaningful advance" for Fragile X patients. I assume he practiced making this claim several times to avoid snickering.

On a conference call Wednesday, Piper Jaffray analyst Charles Duncan congratulated the Alcobra team for the study results, thereby setting a new floor for sell-side shamelessness. Piper Jaffray raised money for Alcobra in January.

Last October, the same Alcobra drug, MDX, failed a study conducted in patients with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Alcobra shares fell from $15 to $3.

Alcobra's stock price recovered this year, more than doubling in value to $8 per share heading into Wednesday's Fragile X study results.

In early Wednesday trading, Alcobra shares are only down 12% to $7.40.

That's your biotech bubble market at work.

Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

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