Hey, remember Axovant? That’s the company that acquired a shelved Alzheimer’s candidate from GSK (intepirdine) and promptly went public in June of 2015 at what seemed a ridiculous valuation ($15/share, raising $315 million). People certainly made money on it, but jeez, the whole business really had a nasty look to it. The company’s stock hit $29 its first day, and if you bought in then, you’ve had plenty of time to regret it. By August it was at $11. It hasn’t spent much time above $15 since then, but you’d have to assume that most everyone who got it at the offering price is long gone, anyway. Perhaps they’re in Bermuda, the fizzing biotech incubator where Axovant is incorporated.
I bring them up because their Alzheimer’s candidate is a 5-HT6 antagonist, which is a mechanism that other companies have also been pursuing. Lundbeck has just annonced phase III results on their compound, idalopirdine, and they are not good. The drug missed its primary endpoint at both doses, and the secondary endpoints were identical to placebo. Axovant’s stock is taking a hit on the news, as well it might. But hey, Axovant has been through this before, because back in February, Pfizer announced that they’d stopped development on their own 5-HT6 compound in the area. Alzheimer’s disease maintains its status as a flaming incinerator of clinical hopes. Why, you have to wonder, would anyone hold Axovant’s stock in anticipation of their 5-HT6 results after two similar efforts have both failed?