A drug that is being groomed as a possible treatment for cocaine addiction failed in mid-stage trials, sending the stocks of the drug’s manufacturer into a tailspin.
Catalyst Pharmaceuticals Partners Inc. began trading publicly in November 2006, reportedly raising $21 million in capital. The company’s selling point is the development of a drug with massive potential. The drug, CPP-109, is commonly called vigabatrin. It was developed in the 1970s for the treatment of epilepsy. In the 1980s, it was studied by researchers for the US government for possible application in the treatment of addiction as it causes the suppression of the response of the brain to striking increases in dopamine.
Catalyst Pharmaceuticals revealed through a press release that CPP-109 trials did not indicate that a significant number of CPP-109 treated test subjects were cocaine-free during the last couple of weeks of treatment as opposed to those who were only given placebo. The results were surprising, however, as three prior human trials with the drug had been successful. Patrick J. McEnany, Catalyst Chief Executive, told the press that they have only begun to analyze data, but this did not prevent the company’s stocks from taking a nosedive, dropping to as low as 90 cents.
A separate study in Mexico, though, reportedly had more positive results, so Catalyst will be looking into differences in demographics as a possible cause of the conflicting results.
According to a report on Reuters, the company has enough cash to fund trials through the end of 2010. Among the adjustments that they made was to temporarily halt the enrollment of new subjects for the mid-stage trial for the use of CPP-109 to treat addiction to methamphetamine. The company plans to analyze the data to over the next few months to determine whether they would try another study for cocaine addicts.