Arrowhead Tumbles As FDA Puts A Clinical Hold On Novel HBV Therapy Trial
Shares in US biotech Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals took a tumble after the FDA put a clinical hold on one of its small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) Phase II programs in hepatitis B because of concerns over a delivery vehicle that is also used in two of its other Phase II candidates.
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The pharma is paying $250m up front for worldwide rights to Arrowhead’s Phase I/II RNAi candidate. Arrowhead says letting J&J take the lead on HBV enables it to focus on other pipeline programs it can bring to market itself.
Among the topics at the European liver meeting was whether reducing HBV surface antigen might be part of a combination approach to curing chronic hepatitis B. One of the leaders in this approach, Arbutus, is working toward its own internal combo therapy for the virus.
Last year's platform failure and back to the drawing board status of bluebird bio was all forgotten last week as data on a few patients treated with its CAR-T therapy were released. It seems that investors are quick to forget similar failed or problematic products at Arrowhead, uniQure and Juno.