Shares in Immuron took a 17 per cent hit this morning after the company revealed its IMM-124E drug did not work in a trial with patients suffering from severe alcoholic hepatitis.

Immuron (ASX:IMM), which is developing oral drugs for gut diseases, fell to an intraday low of 10c after closing at 12c yesterday.

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IMM-124E is Immuron’s lead drug candidate, however this is not a make-or-break announcement for the company. It currently has an approved product generating revenue, Travelan, which fights bacteria that can cause travellers’ diarrhoea.

The objective of the TREAT-003 study was to evaluate safety and efficacy of IMM-124E in severe alcoholic hepatitis patients being treated with steroids. It failed to show any statistical improvement over current treatments. It was funded by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

“In this extreme clinical setting in patients with established severe disease and very high endotoxin load, the study results demonstrated that during the 28-day treatment period there was no statistically significant reduction of serum endotoxin levels or markers of liver injury in the treatment groups when compared to placebo,” said Arun Sanyal, professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in the US and principle investigator on the study.

The disease is extreme — nine people died during the study, though none were related to IMM-124E. Sanyal said the possibility the drug could have an impact prior to the development of the disease remained unexplored.

Dr Gary Jacob, Immuron CEO, wasn’t too disappointed with the results; if at all.

“Immuron was pleased to support this important initiative which was funded by the NIAAA to conduct research and develop potential new treatments for severe alcoholic hepatitis patients,” he said.

“The company remains focused on its own clinical development pipeline and pursuing the registration of Travelan with the FDA as the only approved drug to prevent traveller’s diarrhoea, IMM-529 to prevent clostridium difficle infection recurrence and expanding our anti-infective preclinical programs with the US Department of Defense.”


In other ASX health news today…

Nuheara (ASX:NUH) giving up on mining. Nuheara is well-known for its range of hearing aids, but less well known is the company still has mining tenements. But it soon won’t: it announced to investors today it was selling five tenements in Peru for around $370,000, and is seeking buyers for further mining assets in Peru and Western Australia.
Starpharma (ASX:SPL), Telix Pharmaceuticals (ASX:TLX) kick off trials. The former has begun a Phase I-II clinical trial of its DEP irinotecan anti-cancer drug, while the latter has commenced a prostate cancer clinical trial testing its TLX591 drug on metastatic prostate cancer.
Elixinol (ASX:EXL) picks up supply agreement. The company will sell its cannabidiol extract to Pet Releaf, which makes CBD oils, topicals and treats for pets. Pet Releaf have committed to buying a whopping $26.8 million worth of product from Elixinol over the course of 18 months.