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Minerva Neurosciences stock rises 7% on plans to advance schizophrenia drug to late-stage trials

Minerva Neurosciences Inc. shares rose 6.7% in premarket trade Monday after the company said its schizophrenia drug is expected to start late-stage clinical trials in the second half of this year. The drug, MIN-101, is intended to treat symptoms of the disease that affect an individual’s psychosocial functioning, such as decreased motivation, lack of initiative and restricted personal interaction, which are “one of the main sources of burden of illness,” the company said. These symptoms persist and worsen over the course of schizophrenia patients’ lives, said Minerva Neurosciences President and Chief Executive Remy Luthringer, and no drugs are currently approved to treat them. The phase 3 trial is expected to enroll about 500 patients in Europe and the U.S., and will be designed similarly to the phase 2b trial done last year. Minerva also plans phase 4 development of the drug to expand MIN-101’s patient profile, which could include comparing the rate of psychosis relapses to other drugs, or studying the drug in adolescents at high risk for schizophrenia, the company said. Minerva shares have declined 25.4% over the last three months, compared with a 1.8% rise in the S&P 500 .

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