What Spooked Aquinox Pharmaceuticals (AQXP) Investors Today

Some investors might love biotech stocks for their lottery ticket-like returns when a company strikes medical gold. A lottery ticket, however, costs only a buck or two, while getting a biotech company wrong can hurt a lot more than that. Case in point: Aquinox Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:AQXP) shares are falling nearly 80% this morning, after the drug maker announced that its Phase 3 LEADERSHIP 301 clinical trial evaluating once-daily, oral rosiptor (AQX-1125) for the treatment of interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS) failed to meet its primary endpoint.

“This is a disappointing result for Aquinox and for patients,” said David Main, President and CEO of Aquinox. “LEADERSHIP 301 was a robust and well-conducted trial, and we believe the results are definitive. We have conducted a number of sensitivity, subpopulation, and secondary endpoint analyses and none demonstrate a benefit of rosiptor over placebo. We had hoped to deliver better news to the patients and investigators that made the personal commitment to participate in the trial.”

Main added, “These results support halting all further development activities with rosiptor. We will be undertaking a thorough evaluation of our pipeline and other strategic options available to the company and will be in a position to provide further guidance later this year.”

LEADERSHIP 301 enrolled 433 participants, including 341 female subjects who were randomized to receive rosiptor 100 mg or 200 mg, or placebo. The trial was balanced in terms of baseline characteristics between arms, and enrolled a population very similar to the prior Phase 2 trial. Rosiptor failed to achieve a statistically significant reduction in the mean change from Baseline at Week 12 in maximum daily bladder pain score compared to placebo (P=0.41) in the female subjects, which was the primary endpoint.

Rosiptor was generally well tolerated with the rate of adverse events during the 12-week treatment period similar to that of placebo and prior trials.

Analyst Reports

Aquinox has a lot of disappointed bulls out today as the stock plummets, as according to TipRanks, out of 4 analysts polled in the last 12 months, all 4 rate a Buy on AQXP stock. The 12-month average price target stands at $25.25, marking a nearly 835% upside from where the stock is currently trading. However, price target reductions are expected, so stay tuned.

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