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Allergy Therapeutics' hay fever drug fails in late-stage study

Allergy Therapeutics PLC said its investigational treatment failed to meet the main goal of reducing the symptoms of patients with a certain type of allergy in a late-stage study.

The company's stock price was down 41.32% following the news to 8.45 pence as of 12:40 p.m. London time on March 18, 2019.

The phase 3 study, known as B301, evaluated the effectiveness of the company's adjuvanted birch allergoid product in 582 patients with birch-pollen induced seasonal allergic rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is a type of inflammation in the nose that occurs when the immune system overreacts to allergens in the air, such as pollen released from the birch tree. Symptoms of the condition include a runny or blocked nose, itchy eyes, and sneezing.

Based on the trial's results, there was no statistically significant difference between the company's medicine and placebo in the average reduction of patients' allergic symptoms.

The Worthing, U.K.-based company noted that patients who were treated with the product showed highly statistically significant and relevant increase in immune response compared to placebo. The safety and tolerability profile of the drug was consistent with previous studies.

Allergy Therapeutics intends to continue the product's clinical development after reviewing the study's full dataset.

Stifel analyst James Mainwaring downgraded a recommendation on the company's stock to Hold following the news, noting that the investment bank's previous case for Buy was dependent on positive phase 3 trial results.

Mainwaring added that Allergy Therapeutics will most likely need to conduct another phase 3 trial, which would require it to raise another £12 million to £15 million to fund a new study. Mainwaring has a price target of 9 pence per share on the company's stock.