Deja vu for Circassia with second allergy failure

Dive Brief:

  • UK biotech Circassia tried to put a positive spin on some bad results Tuesday morning when it announced another round of negative results for its allergy treatments.
  • The biotech said its immunotherapy failed to beat a placebo in a Phase 2b study for the treatment of allergies due to house dust mites.
  • Circassia will halt its investment in allergy treatments, but will continue work on two respiratory drugs that it licensed from AstraZeneca back in March. 

Dive Insight:

Circassia CEO Steve Harris was having a hard time Tuesday morning accepting the fact that another of the company’s allergy treatments has failed.

For the second time in the last year, the company has blamed an inability to beat placebo on a high placebo effect.

"It is concerning that in two well-designed field trials, a robust placebo response has confounded our ability to demonstrate a significant treatment effect, despite positive results in earlier chamber studies," Harris said in a statement.

"We remain convinced that the technology has biologic activity, but we also believe the difficulty in overcoming the placebo effect using the field study designs required by regulators represents a significant hurdle, and consequently we will make no further investment in our allergy portfolio."

Last year, Circassia announced that a similar study was thwarted by high placebo effect for its cat allergy immunotherapy, sending shares down precipitously on the London Stock Exchange. 

The company inked a deal with AstraZeneca earlier this year in an effort to stay afloat as it saw its allergy pipeline going down the drain. That deal gives Circassia the U.S. commercialization rights to Turdoza and another unapproved respiratory therapy.

Follow on Twitter

Filed Under: Clinical Trials