Amgen Will Stop Providing Parkinson's Drug

Monday, February 14th 2005, 10:34 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Amgen Inc. said it would stop giving an experimental drug for Parkinson's disease to 48 people who received it as part of a trial because tests found it worked no better than a placebo.

Amgen said Friday it was deeply disappointed about GDNF. In September, the Thousand Oaks-based company found unexpected safety problems and stopped making the drug available as it assessed the data.

There is no cure for Parkinson's, and the drug had seen as promising when a preliminary trial found all five patients showed measurable improvement. The results were published in 2003.

``Our hearts truly go out to trial patients and their families,'' Chief Executive Kevin Sharer said in a statement. ``But we simply cannot allow trials to continue given the potential safety risks and the absence of benefit.''

Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disorder that affects an estimated 1.2 million people in the U.S., including boxing great Muhammad Ali and actor Michael J. Fox.

Patients in the trial received GDNF directly into their brains through tubes. Amgen said it would continue to study the drug to see if there was a way to deliver it to the brain without risking damage.