Sage Therapeutics scraps plans for Parkinson’s drug after mid-stage failure

By Thomson Reuters Apr 17, 2024 | 6:32 AM

(Reuters) -Sage Therapeutics said on Wednesday it will stop development of its experimental drug to treat Parkinson’s disease after the treatment failed a mid-stage study, sending the company’s shares tumbling 36% before the bell.

Parkinson’s disease, a progressive movement disorder of the nervous system, affects about 1 million people in the United States.

The failure is the latest hurdle for Sage Therapeutics after the U.S. health regulator last year approved the company and partner Biogen’s pill Zurzuvae as a treatment for postpartum depression, but rejected it for clinical depression, which is a much larger market.

Sage Therapeutics said it would lay off about 188 people, or about 40% of its workforce, last year after the depression drug setback.

The company said on Wednesday that dalzanemdor did not show statistically significant differences in patients with mild cognitive impairment due to Parkinson’s compared to a placebo, based on a test that measures cognitive ability.

The drug also failed to meet secondary goals, but was found to be safe and well tolerated in the study which enrolled 86 patients, according to Sage.

Dalzanemdor is being tested to treat multiple other diseases associated with cognitive impairment, including Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease.

Jefferies analyst Akash Tewari had estimated in February risk-adjusted sales of about $140 million for dalzanemdor.

(Reporting by Mariam Sunny in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)