Phase II failure of OAB drug candidate also prompted firm to cut workforce by a third.

The recent Phase IIb trial failure of Italian company BioXell’s lead overactive bladder (OAB) candidate, Elocalcitol, has led the company to confirm plans to cut its workforce by a third and terminate development of Elocalcitol in both OAB and benign prostatic hyperplasia.

The company’s shares, listed on the on the main segment of the SWX Swiss Exchange since 2006, have not fared well, and the company is reportedly now valued at just over CHF 14.5 million, less than one-quarter of the CHF6 6 million it held in cash on Dec. 31, 2008.

BioXell had previously announced the decision to suspend a Phase II trial of the vitamin D3 (VD3) analogue, Elocalcitol, in male infertility. The company also put on hold the start of a Phase I trial to test another VD3 analogue, BXL746, for the prevention of postsurgical adhesions.

The company now says all research relating to its VD3 and anti-inflammatory TREM (triggering receptors expressed on myeloid cells) projects are being shelved. Instead, the company will focus on development of the preclinical-stage mAb, BXL1H5, in chronic pain. Clinical development of BXL1H5 is expected to start during the first half of 2011.

BXL1H5 is a fully humanized antibody against TrkA, the high-affinity receptor for nerve growth factor, which BioXell says appears to function as a master control system in the spread of inflammation and pain. BioXell licensed the compound from another Italian company, Lay Line Genomics, in 2006.

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