Neurocrine’s Ingrezza flops in Tourette’s for second time

pharmafile | May 25, 2017 | News story | Research and Development, Sales and Marketing Neurocrine Biosciences, tourette's 

Neurocrine’s Tourette’s therapy Ingrezza (valbenazine) has been hit with yet another setback, flopping in a Phase 2 trial of paediatric patients and failing to produce a significant change on the Yale Tic Severity Scale compared to placebo. This marks the second failure for the drug since January, when it failed to meet its primary endpoint in adult patients.

Neurocrine had made paediatric patients the key focus of the drug’s potential in Tourette’s treatment after it failed to produce results in adults.

The company has noted that the poor performance of the drug is down to an underestimation in the dose needed to produce beneficial results in children, with analysis indicating that many participants were administered with doses below the therapeutic range for adequate tic reduction. Neurocrine chief medical officer Christopher O’Brien noted: “This study showed that we underestimated the Ingrezza dose needed for the pediatric population but also provided us with a clear-cut view into the level of dosing required for future studies.”

With this information, the firm aims to rectify this issue in Phase 2b trials. “We have developed a complete exposure-response model from this study that we believe accurately defines the appropriate dose-range to be tested in the next clinical study that will be started later this year,” O’Brien added.

However, it is believed that this setback will push back potential approval by around two years, heavily delaying Neurocrine’s plans to capitalise on further indications of the treatment.

The news dampens the success of the drug in securing FDA approval in May for the treatment of tardive dyskinesia, a neurological disorder which causes involuntary movement of the face and jaw. Ingrezza is the first therapy to enter the market, and this recent failure will mean Neurocrine will be looking to soak up as much revenue from the space as possible before Teva’s rival Austedo enters the ring.

Matt Fellows

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