MEDICAL RESEARCH

Growth hormone deficiency drug from OPKO and Pfizer fails study

A company logo is seen through branches at a Pfizer office in Dublin, Ireland November 24, 2015.   REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

A company logo is seen through branches at a Pfizer office in Dublin, Ireland November 24, 2015. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton  (Copyright Reuters 2016)

OPKO Health Inc said its experimental drug for growth hormone deficiency (GHD) in adults failed to provide a statistically significant benefit over a placebo in a late-stage study, sending its shares down 14 percent in early trading.

GHD is a rare disorder characterized by the inadequate secretion of the growth hormone from the pituitary gland, an organ responsible for the production of multiple hormones.

The disorder can be hereditary, can be acquired as a result of trauma, infection, radiation therapy or brain tumor growth, and can even emerge without a diagnosable cause.

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Miami-based OPKO, which is developing the drug, hGH-CTP, with Pfizer Inc, said on Friday it had identified one or more outliers that may have affected the trial, in which patients were given the drug once a week.

OPKO said it had started another late-stage study to evaluate the drug against genotropin, which was originally developed by Pfizer, in children.

Up to Thursday's close of $11.46, OPKO's shares had gained about 14 percent this year. Pfizer's shares were down 0.28 percent at $32.41 in early trading.