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AtheroGenics Heart Drug Study Falls Short of Goal

AtheroGenics said a heart disease drug it is developing with AstraZeneca, did not meet its primary goal in a large, late-stage clinical trial, but that it will continue its development.

AtheroGenic's shares plummeted nearly 60 percent in pre-market trading while AstaZeneca's shares fell.

The aim of the study was to compare the effect of AtheroGenics' AGI-1067 drug to placebo in patients with heart disease on the time to first incidence of a composite of major adverse cardiovascular events such as resuscitated cardiac arrest, heart attacks, stroke, need for coronary revascularization and hospitalization for unstable angina.

AtheroGenics will continue work on the drug, based on positive results in reducing events such as cardiovascular death, heart attack and stroke, as well as improving several key diabetes parameters.

The company said it will review the data to prepare for discussion with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on how to proceed. AstraZeneca has 45 days to decide whether to continue the collaboration.

Details of the study will be released at American College of Cardiology meeting in New Orleans on Tuesday, March 27.

Shares of AtheroGenics tumbled $4.84, or 57.34 percent, to $3.40 in pre-market electronic trading. AstraZeneca shares dropped 1.8 percent 2,828 pence ($54.95) on the London Stock Exchange.

AstraZeneca has been working to shore up its pipeline after a number of its experimental drugs failed in late-stage clinical trials.

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