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Allergan Claims Glaucoma Drug Outstrips Commonly Used Remedy

October 24, 2000|From Bloomberg News

Allergan Inc., an Irvine maker of drugs used in eye and skin care, said Monday a late-stage trial found its once-a-day glaucoma drug Lumigan more effective than a commonly used twice-a-day medicine at treating a symptom of the eye disorder.

The company's stock rose $4, or 5.3%, to $80.19 a share on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares have risen 61% this year.

Allergan said Lumigan decreased pressure within patients' eyes significantly more than twice-daily timolol, made by Merck & Co., Bausch & Lomb Inc. and others. The findings are from phase III clinical trials, the last and most extensive stage of testing required for U.S. approval.

Abnormal pressure within the eye, known as intraocular pressure, is a primary symptom of glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness.

The drug was given priority-review status this month by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said Allergan spokesman Vince Scullin. Priority-review status means the FDA will review the drug and make a decision within six months, or about half the time it usually takes.

"The data looks like it was a little better than expected. . .," said David Buck, an analyst at Buckingham Research Group.

The results were presented at a meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Allergan said.

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