Jazz Pharmaceuticals' tremor drug fails in mid-stage study

By Mariam Sunny and Pratik Jain

(Reuters) -Jazz Pharmaceuticals said on Thursday its experimental drug to treat a common movement disorder failed to reduce tremor severity in a mid-stage study, sending the company's shares down 5% in morning trading.

The drug, called suvecaltamide, was being tested in adults with essential tremor, a condition that affects the nervous system and causes involuntary and rhythmic shaking, affecting about 10 million people in the United States.

In the trial, which enrolled 420 patients, a 30 milligram dosage of the drug failed to reduce severity of tremors after 12 weeks of treatment.

Jazz said improvements were observed in patients who were treated with the drug, but these were not statistically significant. The drug also failed to show statistically significant improvement in symptom severity, a secondary goal of the study.

Results for Jazz's study were "unfortunate" but "should not come as a surprise", said RBC analyst Gregory Renza in a note. He added that the company's investors have a high appetite for "newer sprouts of growth" for the company.

A participant in the study also experienced a serious treatment-related complication, the company said, adding that it would further evaluate the data.

The drug, suvecaltamide, is designed to attach to T-type calcium channels that play a role in the brain's control of muscle movement and keep them in a certain shape to reduce their activity.

Praxis Precision Medicine, which is testing a rival drug, ulixacaltamide, for the essential tremor condition rose more than 7%.

Brokerage Piper Sandler analyst Yasmeen Rahimi said that Jazz's trial miss comes in as the best case scenario for Praxis.

Dublin-based Jazz is also testing suvecaltamide in a separate study as a potential treatment for Parkinson's disease-related tremors with trial data expected in the first quarter of 2025.

(Reporting by Mariam Sunny, Bhanvi Satija and Pratik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Mrigank Dhaniwala and Shailesh Kuber)