NEW YORK (AP) -- Alkermes PLC said Wednesday that it is ending development of an experimental drug for treating constipation caused by the use of opioid pain medications.
The company reported mid-stage trial results for ALKS 37, saying the drug helped patients have more bowel movements and was well tolerated, but that the results did not meet its criteria for advancing to late-stage clinical testing. Late-stage clinical trials are the final stage of human testing of a drug. They involve more patients than earlier stages of testing and tend to be more expensive because they take longer to finish.
The Irish drugmaker said it will focus its resources on other products, including its depression treatment ALKS 5461 and schizophrenia treatment ALKS 9070.
The company also reported results from a trial of ALKS 5461. It said the drug candidate significantly reduced the symptoms of major depressive disorder in patients who had not been helped by standard treatments. ALKS 5461 is a combination of an Alkermes compound and an older drug called buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is approved under the name Subutex, and it is used to treat addiction to opiates like heroin.
Patients were treated with ALKS 5461 for seven days each. The effects of the drug were measured on a clinical survey. The company said the drug was well tolerated.
Alkermes said it started a mid-stage trial of ALKS 5416 in January. It plans to study the drug on 130 patients who have not been helped by antidepressants. Patients in the trial will be treated for four weeks each. Alkermes expects to report data from the study in the first half of 2013.
Shares of Alkermes fell 3 percent to $16.08 Wednesday. In aftermarket trading following the release of the trial data, the shares were down 25 cents to $15.81.