Epix disappointed at its depression drug

Epix Pharmaceuticals Inc is going to stop further development of its depression drug, which failed to show sufficient effectiveness in a recent mid-stage trial, sending its shares down 32 percent.

While the drug, PRX-00023, showed a good safety and tolerability profile, the overall results of the trial were disappointing, Chief Executive Michael Kauffman said in a statement.

The drug, which was the most advanced in Epix's pipeline, had already failed to prove effective for general anxiety disorder in 2006, following which the company investigated it as a treatment for major depressive disorder.

Epix has other compounds in its pipeline that it is investigating as treatments for Alzheimer's disease and pulmonary blood pressure.

Epix sells Vasovist, an imaging agent, outside the United States. The company is awaiting U.S. approval for the product and is still struggling with regulatory obstacles.

It plans to refile a marketing application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in mid-2008.

Shares of the company were trading at $2.10 before the bell. They closed at $3.08 Wednesday on Nasdaq.