Humanigen is left nursing Covid losses

Humanigen has played its last Covid card and lost. Yesterday, an NIH/NIAID study of lenzilumab plus remdesivir showed the combo failing to yield any benefit above placebo in keeping hospitalised Covid patients alive and off mechanical ventilation. Humanigen plunged 73% this morning as investors questioned the project and the group’s future prospects. This final Covid setback follows an FDA refusal to give lenzilumab emergency use authorisation use last September. Humanigen has also faced criticism for changing the primary endpoint of lenzilumab studies and using a modified intent-to-treat analysis in the original disclosure from its own phase 3 study. The results in Covid will almost certainly knock confidence in lenzilumab’s ability to prevent cytokine storms in Car-T therapy, an indication Humanigen had been hoping to advance into phase 3. Humanigen’s fortunes are in contrast to those of Veru, which has seen shares more than double in the past six months on the back of positive data for sabizabulin in hospitalised Covid patients. But one short investor has pointed to imbalances between the control and active arms at baseline, arguing that patients in the placebo group were sicker and therefore at higher risk, which might have flattered the results.

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