Roche schizophrenia drug fails

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The first pipeline drug that could treat the negative symptoms of schizophrenia has failed in two Phase-III studies, Bloomberg reports.

Roche said in a statement that additional Phase-III studies of bitopertin are ongoing, but that the failed studies showed that adding the drug to antipsychotic therapy “did not significantly reduce negative symptoms at 24 weeks compared to placebo.”

Bloomberg notes that good results would have brought Roche closer to its first neuroscience program success.

Negative symptoms include behaviors—or rather lack of behaviors—such as lack of expression, monotone language and disinterest, compared with “positive” or the more visible symptoms that are often associated with the disease, such as hallucinations.

The Harvard Medical School Family Guide says around 25% of patients suffer negative symptoms, and that these effects “are the main reason patients with schizophrenia cannot live independently, hold jobs, establish personal relationships, and manage everyday social situations.”

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