There was a lot of promise built into Anthera Pharmaceuticals'
Following the market close on Friday, Anthera released a statement that an independent review board had determined that, based on the data reviewed so far, it was unlikely that varespladib would work better than a placebo. Anthera has since discontinued its late-stage study and has recommended all patients be taken off the drug.
According to research done by Siemens, ACS was the leading cause of death in 2004, accounting for 12% of all deaths worldwide. Siemens estimates that $8 billion is spent annually on non-cardiac-origin hospital admissions that involve chest pain. Needless to say, the market for ACS-related drugs is huge.
In July 2011, AstraZeneca
Now Anthera is going to be forced to rely on its phase 2 lupus drug, Blisibimod. Although lupus itself cannot be cured, we haven't exactly seen companies chomping at the bit in an attempt to solve the problem in decades. In fact, over the last 50 years, only Human Genome Sciences'
Aside from other pre-clinical trials, Anthera has chosen to go it alone in many of its trials and now finds itself with a drastically reduced pipeline and just $93 million in cash left on its balance sheet. The absence of a phase 3 trial will help curb expenses, but it's quite possible that its cash may last only another two years without an equity offering or some sort of royalties from collaborating with a larger pharmaceutical company. For now I'm going to keep far, far away from Anthera, despite the stock price being halved overnight, and at least wait until we get phase 2 data on Blisibimod.
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Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. He strongly believes in donating toward medical research and encourages you to do the same. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.
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