From deep in the data mine, Faron finds an answer

After spending the last few months frantically combing through the failed pivotal study of its lead asset, Faron triumphantly announced today that it had found a signal of efficacy. Traumakine flunked the 300-patient Interest trial in acute respiratory distress syndrome back in May; the interferon-beta 1a- based therapy failed to show any difference from placebo on either ventilator-free days or mortality. The company has had to dig right down to the DNA to find what it was looking for: patients carrying a particular single nucleotide polymorphism had 5.7 times greater likelihood of survival at day 28 than those without the mutation, it proclaimed, dubbing these carriers the “optimal subgroup” for treatment. This analysis should be met with some scepticism, however. The analysis was not pre-specified, rendering the positive p values touted statistically slippery, while the small patient numbers involved are another big red flag. Faron intends to file the data with US and EU regulators early next year, which was enough for some investors to push the company’s beaten-down stock up 22%. But the very best case scenario is surely that regulators will tell Faron to run another study. With only €11m in the bank and nursing a 91% erosion in value this year, the company surely needs to unearth more than a post hoc analysis to push Traumakine forward.

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