Ariad says it will temporarily stop marketing leukemia drug in the US

Photo taken from Ariad’s website.
Photo taken from Ariad’s website.

Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Cambridge biotechnology company, said Thursday that it is temporarily suspending the marketing and commercial distribution of Iclusig, a treatment for certain forms of leukemia in the United States.

About three weeks ago, Ariad said it had stopped enrolling patients in ongoing clinical trials of its leukemia drug because new data showed an increased number suffered blood clots and heart problems in an earlier study.

Ariad’s stock shares plunged nearly 66 percent on that news.

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The company said in a Thursday press release that it is continuing to negotiate updates to the US prescribing information for Iclusig and implementation of a risk mitigation strategy.

Ariad said its actions have been taken in response to a request made by the US Food and Drug Administration Wednesday afternoon.

Ariad added that it believes that Iclusig is an important medicine for patients with resistant or intolerant Philadelphia-positive leukemias and is actively working with the FDA on actions to achieve the resumption of marketing of Iclusig.

Ariad has scheduled a conference call to discuss its actions for later this morning.

Ariad has seen such a sharp drop in its market value in October that last week the company said it has put a hold on plans to move into a new headquarters and laboratory complex under construction in Cambridge’s Kendall Square.