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Nitromed stock drops as heart drug sales stall

Shares of NitroMed Inc. tumbled almost 25 percent yesterday as the maker of a heart-failure medication approved only for use by blacks continued to report disappointing sales and withdrew an earlier forecast that the year-old drug would post $20 million in sales this year.

NitroMed's stock took the hit even as the company reported its second-quarter loss narrowed, falling from $22.6 million a year ago to $18.3 million. Lexington-based NitroMed also said it continues to persuade more pharmacy benefit managers to increase reimbursement for the drug, BiDil, and reduce patient copayments.

When BiDil was approved last summer as the first medication approved for use in a specific racial group, some analysts had projected sales would approach $200 million as soon as 2007.

But estimates have steadily been cut as BiDil has failed to gain sales momentum, causing NitroMed's stock to plunge from its high of $27.99 in February 2005, when expectations for BiDil were high in advance of its launch.

Shares fell 92 cents to close at $2.83 on the Nasdaq Stock Market yesterday.

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