Gilead Sciences, Inc. Stops Development of PAH Drug After Missing Study Goal

Published: Aug 23, 2012

San Francisco Business Times by Ron Leuty, Reporter

Gilead Sciences Inc.'s heart and lung disease drug cicletanine failed a mid-stage trial, Dow Jones reported Tuesday, and the company is discontinuing development of the drug.

Foster City-based Gilead (NASDAQ: GILD) picked up cicletanine, aimed at pulmonary arterial hypertension patients, for an initial $10.9 million in May 2008 from Navitas Assets LLC.

The 162-patient Phase II study, listed as "terminated" on the website, tested cicletanine against a placebo. It looked at how far patients could walk in six minutes after 12 weeks of treatment.

The study enrolled patients at 56 sites.

Patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension have continuous high blood pressure in the pulmonary artery that carries blood from the right ventricle in the heart to the small arteries in the lungs. In PAH patients, the passages narrow and thicken, and scar tissue and blood clots can form, often leading to failure on the right hand side of the heart.

There are treatments for PAH, including the Gilead drug Letairis, but the disease has no cure. Nearly 1,000 new cases of PAH are diagnosed each year in the United States.

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