Northstar Neuroscience’s stocks fall as clinical experiments fail

By Margarita Snegireva. Northstar Neuroscience’s late-stage trial of its treatment to improve hand and arm function in stroke victims, did not provide any significant benefit over rehabilitation therapy. Its stocks dropped more than 83 percent.

The trial evaluated the Seattle-based company's experimental cortical stimulation device, which is designed to deliver targeted electrical stimulation to the outer surface of the brain.

Northstar, which is based in Seattle, said it would drop efforts to have the therapy approved by regulators. Northstar’s stock, which ended Nasdaq trading on Friday at $8.36, plunged as low as $1.09 before recovering slightly to end the day at $1.37, down 83.6 percent.

The trial results highlighted the hit-or-miss nature of efforts to develop devices that use electrical stimulation or magnetic fields to treat brain and nerve disorders.

Mindful of successes treating conditions as diverse as epilepsy, deafness and chronic pain, device makers have been investing heavily in what James Cavuoto, publisher of Neurotech Reports, forecasts will be a $3.6 billion neurotechnology market this year.

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