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Cubist to stop development of drug

Associated Press / April 1, 2010

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LEXINGTON —Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc. said yesterday it will stop developing a drug intended to reduce bleeding during heart surgery, months after it halted enrolling patients in studies because of safety concerns.

In December, the company stopped enrolling patients in a study of CB-500,929, or ecallantide, because of deaths among patients. At the time, the company said a data monitoring board wants to assess the difference between patients on the drug and those who were on an alternative treatment.

Overall, the rate of deaths in the studies was consistent with expected outcomes, and the causes of death were typical for a group of patients who were at a high risk for bleeding during cardiac surgery, Cubist had said.

Also, Cubist plans to end its deal with Dyax Corp. on the drug. Dyax discovered the compound and licensed it to Cubist. The drug was intended for use in surgeries where a patient’s heart is stopped, and blood is kept flowing with a cardiopulmonary bypass machine.