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Prana Biotechnology slumps on delay for drug data

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Prana Biotechnology skidded 14 percent Friday after the company said results from a study of its most advanced experimental drug will be delayed.

The company completed a six-month study of its drug PBT2 in July. However there was a delay in finalizing the database from the study. Prana said it now expects to report results from the trial, which evaluated PBT2 as a treatment for Huntington's disease, in early 2014 instead of the fourth quarter of 2013.

Shares of the Australian drug developer fell 69 cents to $4.25 in afternoon trading.

Prana Biotechnology Ltd. is studying treatments for age-related neurodegenerative disorders and is running trials of PBT2 as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease and Huntington's disease, a genetic disorder that causes cognitive decline, psychiatric problems and decreased muscle coordination. PBT2 is its most advanced experimental drug.

MLV & Co. analyst George Zavoico said the company is making "good progress" and the delay happened because Prana found some inconsistencies and transcription errors between its database and reports in the study. He said those types of errors are not unusual even though Prana found more of them than it expected. Zavoico said he expect the study to succeed and maintained a "Buy" rating with a price target of $6 per share.

Prana also said a panel of independent monitors recommended that it continue a study of PBT2 in Alzheimer's disease without making any changes. The company expects to finish treatment of the last patient in November and results should be available during the first quarter.