December 13, 2010 / 10:20 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 2-Inhibitex shingles drug fails in mid-stage trial

* FV-100 fails to show statistically significant difference

* Co says treatment difference numerically favorable

* Shares down 17 pct (Adds analyst, company comment, details)

By Anand Basu

BANGALORE, Dec 13 (Reuters) - U.S. biotechnology company Inhibitex Inc’s INHX.O experimental drug to treat shingles failed to meet the main goal of a mid-stage trial, sending its shares down 17 percent.

There was a “numerically favorable” difference between patients treated with the drug, FV-100, and GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK.L) Valtrex — a commonly used antiviral drug for shingles — but it was not statistically significant, Inhibitex said.

“There is definitely no future for FV-100, since it failed in this trial where the main goal was to demonstrate superiority to Valtrex,” Noble Financial Capital Markets analyst Raghuram Selvaraju said.

The company had to demonstrate at least 25 percent improvement over Valtrex, he said.

Patients who received 200 mg or 400 mg of FV-100 experienced 3 percent and 7 percent relative treatment differences compared to patients treated with valacyclovir, the company said.

Selvaraju said the only near-term catalyst for the stock is the Phase Ib data from its experimental hepatitis C drug expected early next year.

Inhibitex Chief Executive Russell Plumb told Reuters that the company will have to finalize the assessment of the data before determining the clinical pathway for the shingles drug.

Inhibitex shares, which have risen 46 percent since the company reported third-quarter results in November, were down 17 percent at $2.40 in extended trade on Monday. They touched a 52-week high of $3.10 in regular trade, before closing down nearly 4 percent at $2.89 (Reporting by Anand Basu in Bangalore; Editing by Vinu Pilakkott)

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