What happened

Shares of Matinas BioPharma Holdings Inc. (NYSEMKT:MTNB) have fallen about 23.1% as of 12:18 p.m. EDT on Monday following some bad news. The company's lead candidate failed to outperform a standard antifungal treatment among patients with vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC), a condition more commonly known as a yeast infection.

So what

Although roughly 75% of women will have at least one episode of VVC, fluconazole is the only oral treatment currently available. Matinas BioPharma Holdings hoped to add its lead candidate to the list of oral treatment options for moderate-to-severe cases, but MAT2203 missed the mark by a mile.

Investor hiding under a laptop

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After 12 days, 75% of women receiving standard fluconazole demonstrated a clinical cure, which blew the doors off of the 55% cure rate among patients receiving 400 mg of MAT2203 per day.

Although Matinas hailed the trial a success in terms of safety, drug-related side effects occurred in about 20% of patients receiving the 400 mg dose. That figure was just 2% among those receiving fluconazole.

Now what

Although this trial doesn't look good for the company's lead candidate in the VVC indication, the show might not be over yet. Earlier this month, Matinas reported successful results from an investigator-sponsored trial with MAT2203 as treatment among patients with severely compromised immune systems with long-term recurrent mucocutaneous candidiasis, or oral thrush.

Although there is an unmet need for new antifungal agents, it might be best to wait for more concrete evidence of efficacy in this population before risking a nickel on this stock. Just two patients were treated during the investigator-sponsored trial.

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