The study's Independent Data Monitoring Committee made the recommendation to stop because of safety concerns due to "excess serious adverse events and mortality in the bardoxolone methyl arm." Abbott's partner on the trial, Reata Pharmaceuticals, made the decision to discontinue the trial. Regulatory authorities and study participants are being notified.

Abbott and Reata say they will will examine the data to determine "whether there is an appropriate path forward for the development of bardoxolone methyl in chronic kidney disease or other indications."

Some had predicted the drug could be a blockbuster.

The bad news for Abbott comes on the heels of a bland quarterly earnings report. The company's third quarter earnings missed on revenue estimates despite beating projected earnings.