September 17, 2012 / 2:57 PM / 5 years ago

Targacept attention deficit drug fails study; jobs cut

(Reuters) - An experimental treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder from Targacept Inc did not meet the main goal of a mid-stage trial, prompting the company to drop development of the drug and cut jobs.

Targacept shares fell as much as 12.4 percent on Monday after the results showed that patients in the placebo group had improved more than those taking the experimental drug, TC-5619.

The company did not specify how many people it would lay off, but said it would limit investment in the development of certain products in its pipeline until it appoints a new chief executive officer.

In June, CEO Donald deBethizy stepped down. His role is being assumed by Chairman Mark Skaletsky pending the appointment of a new CEO.

DeBethizy's departure followed disappointing results from trials of Targacept's treatments for diabetes and asthma, which prompted the company to cut its workforce by 46 percent, or 65 jobs.

In March, Targacept and partner AstraZeneca said they would abandon work on the their experimental antidepressant after it failed to meet key goals in two late-stage clinical studies.

Targacept shares were down 10.7 percent at $4.33 in Monday morning trading after falling to $4.25 earlier in the session.

Reporting by Vidya P L Nathan in Bangalore and Toni Clarke in Boston; Editing by Joyjeet Das and Lisa Von Ahn

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