Shares of Ocular Therapeutix (OCUL 1.89%), a biopharmaceutical company, are getting hammered today in response to lousy clinical trial data. The company's experimental insert for the treatment of dry-eye disease, OTX-CSI, failed to boost tear production. Disappointed investors had beaten the stock 35.5% lower as of 10:57 a.m. on Friday.
Ocular Therapeutix's only revenue-generating product, Dextenza, isn't making ends meet yet. Investors had been looking forward to the potential launch of a second product, but the results presented today suggest the company's attempt to package cyclosporine into its proprietary hydrogel insert is a bust. Patients given OTX-CSI exhibited a little less tear production after 12 weeks than patients randomized to receive an empty insert.
Tear production was measured by the Schirmer test, which involves sticking tiny strips of paper to trial participants' eyelids, then measuring how far the tears travel. Patients given a short-duration formulation improved by 1.98 millimeters while the placebo group improved by 2.24 millimeters on average. Patients given the longer-duration formula improved by 1.91 millimeters compared to an improvement of 3.08 millimeters for those given a placebo.
Dextenza sales have been a little disappointing since its launch in 2019. This biotech stock would be in a lot more trouble if the Food and Drug Administration hadn't recently approved Dextenza to treat itching associated with allergic conjunctivitis.
The label expansion to allergic conjunctivitis makes Dextenza a lot more accessible. Now that Dextenza is no longer limited to the post-surgical setting, sales could put Ocular Therapeutix on a path to profitability.