Rigel Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
) recently announced disappointing results from a phase II study
on R343. The company announced that its asthma candidate failed
to meet primary or secondary objectives in the phase II SITAR
(SYK Inhibition for Treatment of Asthma with R343) study. Rigel's
share price went down 13.5% following the news.
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R343 is an inhaled SYK inhibitor, being developed for the
treatment of patients suffering from allergic asthma.
In Sep 2012, Rigel had initiated the phase II, double-blind,
multi-center study (n=270) on R343. The primary objective of the
study was to measure the change in pre-bronchodilator FEV1 (a
measure of lung function) from baseline in each patient under
R343 in comparison to those under placebo. R343 was however well
tolerated during the study.
Following the dismal results, Rigel has decided to discontinue
the development of R343 for this indication.
This is not the first time Rigel received disappointing news this
year. Earlier, in Jun 2013,
) returned rights to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) candidate,
fostamatinib. AstraZeneca arrived at the decision based on mixed
data from the OSKIRA phase III program and decided against
pursuing regulatory filings for the candidate.
We remind investors that AstraZeneca was collaborating with Rigel
for the worldwide development and commercialization of
fostamatinib since Feb 2012.
Apart from these candidates, Rigel also has R333 (discoid lupus
erythematosus) and R348 (chronic dry eye) in phase II
We are disappointed with the pipeline setback at Rigel. We expect
investor focus to shift to the other candidates in the company's
pipeline. While phase II data on R333 should be out later this
year, data on R348 is expected in the first half of 2014.
Rigel currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). At present,
Gilead Sciences, Inc.
) look attractive with both carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong