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Inspire Pharma: Dry-Eye Treatment Didn't Meet Study Endpoints

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Inspire Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ISPH) said its Prolacria treatment for dry eye met neither the primary nor secondary endpoints in a late-stage trial. Shares fell 7.5% to $6.11 premarket. Shares in its partner in developing the eye drops, Allergan Inc. (AGN), weren't active after closing Wednesday at $61.20. Early data about Prolacria had been discouraging, so the final results won't come as a huge surprise, but the treatment had been one of Inspire's most advanced drugs in its pipeline. Its other advanced drug candidate is denufosol tetrasodium for cystic fibrosis. Inspire focuses on developing treatments for ophthalmic and pulmonary diseases. Chief Executive Christy Shaffer said Inspire has reported the results to Allergan and "will be conducting a thorough review of the program before determining next steps, if any." At the end of the six-week study, Inspire gauged subjects extent of dry eye with a "staining score," in which patterns made by a stain are used to measure damaged cells in the central area of the cornea. It aimed to have a proportion of its subjects receiving Prolacria have a staining score of zero compared to a placebo group, its primary endpoint. It also failed to reduce the staining score by two units compared to the control group, the secondary endpoint. Dry eye occurs when the eye isn't being sufficiently lubricated. In November, the drug company reported a narrower third-quarter loss thanks to double-digit growth in sales. -By Joan E. Solsman, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2291; joan.solsman@dowjones.com

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