June 13, 2018 / 11:40 AM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 1-Flex Pharma to scrap two mid-stage neuromuscular disease trials

(Adds details on number of employees, share price)

June 13 (Reuters) - U.S. drug developer Flex Pharma Inc said on Wednesday it plans to stop two ongoing mid-stage trials, testing its lead drug to treat neuromuscular diseases, following safety concerns.

The company's shares fell 18.7 percent to $3.40 in premarket trading.

The drug, FLX-787, was being tested in trials to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a rare neuromuscular disorder.

"Recent observations of oral intolerability ... indicate that more formulation and dose-ranging studies are required, which is challenging for the company based upon our current resources," Chief Executive Officer Bill McVicar said.

Based on the company's plans to stop the mid-stage trials, Flex would reduce its workforce by 60 percent. It had 20 full-time and two part-time employees as of March.

Flex now plans to shift the focus of its drug FLX-787 to treat dysphagia or difficulty in swallowing. (Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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