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January 30, 2020

Spring Bank stops development of hepatitis B drug after patient death

Photo | Grant Welker Spring Bank Pharmaceuticals' Hopkinton headquarters

Spring Bank Pharmaceuticals said Wednesday it is discontinuing development of a treatment for chronic hepatitis B after a patient died during a trial.

The Hopkinton biopharmaceutical company said the decision was made in the interest of public safety based on unexpected serious adverse effects, including the death. The drug was in the second phase of development. Hepatitis B is a liver disease that can be acute and chronic.

Martin Driscoll, Spring Bank's president and CEO, called the decision to end the trial a difficult one.

“We will continue to work in close collaboration with external experts and our clinical study investigators to provide the care necessary for all study patients and will continue to conduct a series of investigative actions to better understand the unexpected serious adverse events observed in our Phase 2b program," Driscoll said in a statement.

Spring Bank said it is instead focusing on new treatments for other diseases, including an intravenous cancer drug in earlier stages of development. That drug was accepted into the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's drug program to begin clinical trials last July.

Spring Bank's stock fell on the news, from a close of $1.70 a share Tuesday to $1.31 after the news was released Wednesday.

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