US-based Furiex Pharmaceuticals’ shares have fallen more than 11% after it announced that it would stop developing PPD-10558, an investigational drug to treat high cholesterol.

The company revealed last week that patients enrolled in a Phase II trial, who had high cholesterol and a prior history of statin-associated myalgia, did not experience less muscle pain than when given Pfizer’s Lipitor or a placebo.

The study, therefore, did not meet its primary efficacy endpoint.

As expected, PPD-10558 did significantly lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol compared with a placebo, and had a favourable safety profile.

Furiex president and chief medical officer June Almenoff said, "We are disappointed with the results, given the promising pre-clinical profile of PPD-10558. We, however, are confident that the study effectively evaluated the clinical hypothesis, and has provided a clear scientific result."

Company chairman Fred Eshelman added, "Given the results of this recent Phase II clinical trial, Furiex will not move forward with PPD-10558. We will continue to advance our other clinical programmes and remain committed to our product portfolio and pipeline to support and create value for the company."

Furiex acquired an exclusive license rights in early 2007 from Ranbaxy Laboratories to develop, manufacture and market its novel statin PPD-10558.