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Neurocrine falls on movement drug study results

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Shares of Neurocrine Biosciences Inc. slumped in aftermarket trading Monday after the company reported mixed results from a trial of a drug that is designed to treat a severe movement disorder.

The company is testing the drug as a treatment for tardive dyskinesia, which causes involuntary movements of the neck and face. Neurocrine Biosciences said the investigators at one of the eight sites where testing was performed did not apply the trial protocol correctly. When Neurocrine Biosciences reviewed videotapes of patients, it found their symptoms did not match up to the clinical scores assigned by investigators at the site.

Neurocrine Biosciences said that as a result of those errors, patients treated with the drug candidate NBI-98854 did not do significantly better than patients who were treated with a placebo. However, if results from the disputed site are left out, patients who were treated with the larger dose of NBI-98854 did significantly better than patients who were treated with the placebo. Patients treated with the smaller dose did about the same as patients in the placebo group.

The company said it is planning larger mid-stage trials of NBI-98854. There were 37 patients in the latest study. The most common side effect in the trial was headache. One patient in the larger-dose group left the trial because of restless legs syndrome.

Shares of Neurocrine Biosciences fell 2 cents to close Monday at $8.99 before the company reported the trial's results. The stock dropped 88 cents, almost 10 percent, to $8.11 after hours.

Neurocrine Biosciences' most advanced drug candidate is elagolix. It is studying the drug as a treatment for endometriosis, or excessive growth of the uterine lining, and for uterine fibroids, or benign growths in the uterus.