FOSTER CITY, Calif. (AP) -- Shares of SciClone Pharmaceuticals Inc. slipped Friday in premarket trading after the drugmaker said it will end its development of a treatment for a common side effect of chemotherapy for head and neck cancer.
Oral mucositis is an inflammation of the digestive tract. SciClone said an interim analysis of data from 85 people enrolled in a mid-stage trial showed that it wasn't effective in reducing the proportion of patients with clinically assessed ulcerative oral mucositis.
"Oral mucositis remains a debilitating condition for cancer patients who are in need of effective therapeutic options," CEO Friedhelm Blobel said in a statement from the company.
SciClone plans to stop developing the molecule, labeled SCV-07, for that condition. It also will stop enrolling patients in the trial and discontinue dosing to people already enrolled.
SciClone said the trial halt will lead to an earlier-than-expected drop in expenses that will help its 2012 earnings. It also said the move helps it focus resources on continuing to grow its commercial business in China.
Company shares fell 3.7 percent, or 17 cents, to $4.35 before markets opened.