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Wave Life Sciences stock down after Huntington's drug fails to impress

Wave Life Sciences Ltd.'s share price dropped after its Huntington's disease therapy failed to match results posted by Roche Holding AG and Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc. over a year ago, FierceBiotech reported.

The company announced a data readout from a phase 1b/2a early-stage clinical trial called Precision-HD2 that showed the medicine was better than placebo in reducing the mutant huntingtin, or mHTT, protein, which plays a key role in Huntington's disease — a genetic condition in which the brain's nerve cells progressively break down.

While Wave Life's medicine did better than placebo, it still was not as good as Roche and Ionis' investigational Huntington's disease therapy IONIS-HTTRx. According to the results the companies posted in April 2018, IONIS-HTTRx helped reduce mHTT by at least 40% when compared to placebo in a phase 1/2 study.

Wave's drug was 12.4% more likely than placebo to reduce mHTT according to the results retrieved from various dosing groups. The medicine was also found to be safe, and Wave Life said it intends to study a higher dose of the medicine starting in January 2020. The decision to study a higher dose — 32 milligrams — was prompted after the trial's results suggested a larger reduction in mHTT in the maximum dose tested: 16 milligrams.

Wave Life stocks closed at $7.99 on Dec. 30, 2019, or down nearly 50% from the stock's closing price of $15.81 on Dec. 27, 2019.