11 agosto 2008 / 15:42 / 9 anni fa

SurModics shares fall after partner Merck stops trial enrolment

Aug 11 (Reuters) - Shares of SurModics Inc (SRDX.O) fell more than 10 percent on Monday, after the company on Friday said partner Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N) had suspended enrolment in a mid-stage trial for I-vation TA in patients suffering from diabetic macular edema (DME).

DME is a condition that causes swelling in the retina of the eye, leading to blurred vision.

The I-vation intravitreal implant is a drug delivery system designed to provide controlled and sustained release of a variety of drug compounds to the posterior chamber of the eye for such indications as DME and age-related macular degeneration.

Merck and SurModics had said in January they would develop a new proprietary investigational compound to treat eye diseases using SurModics’ I-vation drug delivery system, under an existing license agreement.

SurModics said Merck is re-evaluating the design of the mid-stage trial for I-vation in DME in light of results of a recent study comparing laser treatment and intravitreal injections of triamcinolone acetonide (TA) in patients with DME.

The pharmaceutical giant has suspended enrolment in the trial pending the review.

SurModics also said the comparative study did not mention I-vation TA or assess the safety and efficacy of the drug delivery system.

“The license and research collaboration agreement with Merck continues, and other ongoing development programs with Merck are unaffected,” SurModics said in a statement.

Rick Rinkoff from Craig Hallum Capital Group said the news is “a temporary cloud over the stock.”

He believes there is “no immediate financial impact to SurModics but some portion of the milestone pie could be at risk.”

Rinkoff expects SurModics “to deliver on its goal of signing another ophthalmic licensing deal in the next few months.”

Shares of the Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based company fell to a low of $38.51, before recovering some losses to trade down $3.60 at $39.35 Monday morning on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Vidya L Nathan in Bangalore; Editing by Pratish Narayanan)

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