Why Arsanis Shares Are Bombing

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Arsanis Inc. (NASDAQ: ASNS) shares were absolutely crushed on Thursday after the company provided an update from its midstage trial. The company decided that it will cut and run, ultimately discontinuing its pneumonia trial.

Arsanis decided that it will discontinue its Phase 2 clinical trial of ASN100 for the prevention of S. aureus pneumonia in high-risk, mechanically ventilated patients following the completion of a planned interim analysis of unblinded trial data by an independent data review committee.

The primary efficacy endpoint of the trial was the proportion of patients who develop S. aureus pneumonia through 21 days after dosing. The trial was designed to detect a 50% reduction in the occurrence of S. aureus pneumonia in the ASN100 arm when compared to placebo.

Based on the results of this analysis, the committee determined that the trial was futile, meaning that it was not likely to meet its primary end-point upon completion and recommended that trial enrollment be discontinued. Arsanis intends to conduct follow-up visits on all patients dosed with ASN100 per the study protocol.

René Russo, President and CEO of Arsanis, commented:

We are disappointed that this clinical study was futile despite the survival benefit of ASN100 as compared to placebo observed in preclinical models of pneumonia, however Arsanis remains confident in the potential of monoclonal antibodies to prevent and treat serious infections, while also reducing the threat of antibiotic resistance. We intend to evaluate the complete dataset from the patients that were enrolled in the ASN100 study to better understand the basis for this result and expect to provide an update on the program following this review.  We thank the patients and their caregivers who participated in the ASN100 Phase 2 study.

Shares of Arsanis were last seen down about 73% at $4.93, with a consensus analyst price target of $24.50 and a 52-week trading range of $4.60 to $28.69.