Medicines Co. dips after company ends drug study

NEW YORK -- Shares of The Medicines Co. slumped Friday after the company said it was ending development of a drug designed to reduce bleeding during surgery because of safety concerns.

THE SPARK: After the market closed on Thursday, Medicines Co. said it was ending development of MDCO-2010 because of "serious unexpected patient safety issues." The company did not disclose the nature of those safety issues. It said the causes of the safety problems are not clear and it's not known if they are related to MDCO-2010.

However, the Parsippany, N.J.-based company said it was ending development of the drug. The only active trial was designed to evaluate safe and effective doses of MDCO-2010, and Medicines Co. had recruited 44 out of an expected 90 patients.

THE BIG PICTURE: Medicines Co. makes the anti-clotting drug Angiomax. In the first half of 2012 sales of the drug rose about 13 percent to $262.3 million. The company is studying several other clotting products and an experimental broad-spectrum antibiotic.

THE ANALYSIS: Jefferies & Co. analyst Biren Amin said he had considered MDCO-2010 as a fairly promising drug candidate, but he was not counting on it as a product for the company because it was years away from potential marketing approval. He said the study was small and won't make a big dent in Medicines Co.'s expenses.

Amin maintained a "Hold" rating on the stock with a price target of $24 per share.

SHARE ACTION: Shares of Medicines Co. lost $1.57, or 5.8 percent, to $25.07 in afternoon trading. Through Thursday Medicines Co. stock had climbed 42.9 percent in 2012.