Shorts likely to cover as BioCryst announces positive mid-stage trial results Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Wednesday, 05 October 2011 06:47
fda calendarBioCryst Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:BCRX) said Wednesday that its experimental gout drug BCX4208 met its main goal in a clinical trial that tested the drug in patients who have not been helped by an older gout treatment.

Shares of BioCryst closed at $2.62 on Tuesday and it is worth noting that there are currently over 4 million shares short in the stock. BCRX shares are currently trading -55.29 % below it's 52-Wk High of $ 5.86. The average volume in the stock is only 242,500 and yesterday the stock only traded 165,699 shares, so the potential for heavy covering by the shorts on this positive news development definitely exists.

The mid-stage trial compared four different doses of BCX4208 to placebo. Patients received one dose of the drug or the placebo every day for 12 weeks, and all patients were treated with allopurinol, the standard treatment for gout. However, those patients had not reached treatment goals on allopurinol in the past.

BioCryst said patients on three of the four doses were significantly more likely to reach a treatment goal than patients who took the placebo.

Gout is a painful and debilitating disease caused by abnormally elevated levels of uric acid in the bloodstream. Its symptoms including swelling and pain in joints. Treatments for gout are designed to reduce uric acid levels, and patients in the study had not met a target uric acid level while being treated with allopurinol alone.

The company said 45 percent of the patients on the 5-milligram dose reached that level, and so did 39 percent of the patients on the 20-milligram dose and 49 percent of the patients who took the 40-milligram dose. BioCryst said 33 percent of the patients in the 10-milligram dose group reached the target, which was not significantly better than the placebo group, where 18 percent of patients improved.

The company enrolled a total of 279 patients in the trial. A total of 10 patients left the trial because of a decrease in a type of T cell. Eight of them were in the 40-milligram dose group and two were in the 20-milligram dose group.

“These positive results in 2nd line treatment are consistent with findings from our prior 1st line combination study, and reinforce BCX4208’s potential to safely address the unmet medical need for new treatment options that help gout patients reach their therapeutic goal,” said Dr. William P. Sheridan, Senior Vice President & Chief Medical Officer of BioCryst Pharmaceuticals. “We expect to report 6-month results from the ongoing extension study in early 2012, which will provide additional insight into BCX4208’s safety and efficacy profile. We are on track to conclude this Phase 2 program during the first half of next year and we look forward to discussing the results in more detail with regulatory authorities and potential partners.”

BioCryst will host a conference call and webcast today at 8:30 a.m. ET to discuss the study results as well as provide a clinical overview and update for the BCX4208 program. To participate in the conference call, please dial 1-877-303-8027 (United States) or 1-760-536-5165 (International). No passcode is needed for the call. The webcast can be accessed by logging onto BioCryst’s website at

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