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GlaxoSmithKline plc (ADR) (GSK), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): ChemoCentryx Inc (CCXI) Collapses on Crohn’s Disease Results

Shares of small biotech ChemoCentryx Inc (NASDAQ:CCXI) collapsed by 44% in early trading on Friday before paring the losses somewhat. The huge sell-off stemmed from disappointing clinical study results for Crohn’s disease drug vercirnon announced by ChemoCentryx partner GlaxoSmithKline plc (ADR) (NYSE:GSK).

Results and ramifications

GlaxoSmithKline plc (ADR) (NYSE:GSK) had four late-stage studies under way for vercirnon evaluating its effectiveness and safety in treating Crohn’s disease. The drugmaker announced that the vercirnon didn’t meet its primary endpoint of clinical response or the secondary endpoint of clinical remission in the first of those studies. This first study included 608 adult patients with moderately to severely active Crohn’s disease across 208 different global sites.

ChemoCentryx Inc (CCXI)

ChemoCentryx Inc (NASDAQ:CCXI) licensed vercirnon to GlaxoSmithKline plc (ADR) (NYSE:GSK) in 2010. The two companies established an alliance in 2006 to focus on chemokine-based therapeutics for potential treatment of inflammatory disorders. That deal could have led to up to $1.5 billion in milestone payments to ChemoCentryx Inc (NASDAQ:CCXI). The latest results certainly lower the bar on expectations for what the small biotech will ultimately receive from its larger partner.

In the meantime, the disappointing results from the first study caused GlaxoSmithKline plc (ADR) (NYSE:GSK) to suspend enrollment and dosing for the overall vercirnon program. That could be only a temporary halt as the company analyzes the results, but there’s no guarantee at this point.

Looking ahead

Details of the first study haven’t been released yet. GlaxoSmithKline plc (ADR) (NYSE:GSK) plans to submit the study results to an upcoming scientific meeting as well as publish the data in a scientific journal.

This is clearly horrible news for ChemoCentryx Inc (NASDAQ:CCXI), but vercirnon isn’t the only drug in the company’s pipeline. A CCR2 antagonist known as CCX140 is in a phase 2 study for diabetic nephropathy. GlaxoSmithKline plc (ADR) (NYSE:GSK) also exercised an option to license experimental rheumatoid arthritis drug CCX354 and has an option to license ANCA vasculitis drug CCX168. ChemoCentryx counts a couple of other drugs in phase 1 development plus several in the pre-clinical stage.

As for Glaxo, any hopes that the drugmaker might have harbored to challenge AbbVie Inc (NYSE:ABBV)‘s Humira are diminished after the disappointment with vercirnon. Humira, which treats Crohn’s disease among several other inflammatory conditions, reigns as the top-selling drug in the world.

This setback for ChemoCentryx Inc (NASDAQ:CCXI) and Glaxo means that the next likely competitor in the Crohn’s disease market is Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ)‘s Stelara. The drug, which is already approved for treating psoriasis, is in a phase 3 study for Crohn’s disease.

Bad news for vercirnon could also be good news for Coronado Biosciences Inc (NASDAQ:CNDO). The small biotech expects to announce results from its phase 2 study of experimental drug CNDO-201 in treating Crohn’s disease later this year.

The article ChemoCentryx Collapses on Crohn’s Disease Results originally appeared on and is written by Keith Speights.

Fool contributor Keith Speights has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool owns shares of Johnson & Johnson.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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