Vertex epilepsy drug meets key midstage study goal
CAMBRIDGE -- Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. said today that its developing epilepsy treatment met key safety and tolerability goals in a midstage study.
The six-week trial included 60 people with treatment-resistant epilepsy, a type of epilepsy where seizures start and occur in a specific part of the brain. The study enrolled and dosed people who had not benefitted from the use of at least two currently available medicines for partial epilepsy. In the study, 48 people received 900 mg of VX-765 three-times-daily and 12 people received a placebo three times a day.
Results showed the drug was similarly safe to a placebo, with dizziness the only side effect that occurred significantly more often in those taking the drug versus placebo.
Key secondary goals of the study focused on how effective the drug was at reducing the frequency of seizures. Vertex said those taking the drug didn't have statistically significant drops in seizure rates or frequency. But the company said greater improvements were observed in the last two weeks of the treatment phase and first two weeks of the follow-up period, which suggests that a longer-duration study may be needed to evaluate the effectiveness of the drug.
Vertex expects to begin this study as early as the fourth quarter.
Shares of Vertex fell $2.15, or 4.5 percent, to $45.28 in afternoon trading. The stock has ranged between $31.25 and $52.13 over the last 52 weeks.