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Marinus Pharma's Postpartum Depression Candidate Aces Midstage Trials

Shanthi Rexaline

A handful of micro-cap stocks were making moves Monday, with the release of clinical trial results being the catalyst.

Marinus Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: MRNS), which develops therapies for epilepsy, depression and other neuropsychiatric disorders, is among the biotech movers; here's why it's seeing buying interest. 

What Happened

Marinus said the Phase 2 trials that evaluated intravenous and oral ganaxolone for women with postpartum depression, or PPD, produced positive results. The IV study is known as the Magnolia study, while the oral study is known as Amaryllis. 

The company said topline data showed that Ganaxolone IV demonstrated fast-acting, robust and durable efficacy, with a clear dose response relationship seen for three groups that received the drug at median doses of 60, 90 and 140 µg/kg/h. 

The 140 µg/kg/h dosage demonstrated the most robust results, with a clinically meaningful 5.6-point reduction on the Hamilton Rating Scale of Depression, or HAM-D17, compared to a placebo at 48 hours that was durable through the last visit at day 34, according to Marinus. 

The oral formulation was also generally safe and well-tolerated. Enrollment in this study is ongoing, with patients in the most recent dose cohort showing a mean HAM-D17 reduction of 13.2 points from a baseline of 24.7 in 28 days and a reduction of 15.7 points at day 36.

Why It's Important

PPD affects about 15 percent of women in the first year following childbirth. No treatments are currently approved for PPD; the disorder is treated with psychotherapy and antidepressants.

What's Next

Marinus said it is advancing both studies based on the midstage results. 

The company said it will submit the full set of data from the Magnolia study for publication or presentation at a future medical conference.

Marinus shares were trading 11.61 percent higher at $5.77 at the time of publication Monday 

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