UPDATE 1-Axovant's Alzheimer's drug fails in late-stage trial, shares slump

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Sept 26 (Reuters) - Axovant Sciences Ltd said on Tuesday its experimental Alzheimer's drug failed to improve cognitive abilities and daily activities in a highly anticipated late-stage trial, sending its shares plunging 70 percent in premarket trading.

The drug, intepirdine, was being tested in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's who did not respond to initial therapy, and was compared with a placebo.

The setback to Axovant's drug comes more than seven months after Denmark's Lundbeck said two late-stage trials testing its experimental Alzheimer's drug failed.

Axovant's intepirdine was similar to Lundbeck's drug, idalopirdine, a so-called 5-HT6 antagonist.

A 5-HT6 antagonist works to block the 5-HT6 receptor to release acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter needed for normal cognition.

The drug did not show statistically significant improvement in cognition and showed no difference in daily living activities in patients, failing the two main goals of the trial.

The drug, however, showed some improvement in one of the secondary goals.

Axovant's shares were trading at $7.11. They had gained 21 percent this month through Monday ahead of the data. (Reporting by Divya Grover and Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)