Sage's depression drug succeeds in mid-stage study, shares soar

(Reuters) – Sage Therapeutics Inc said on Thursday its drug to treat patients with moderate to severe depression met the main goal of reducing symptoms in a mid-stage study, sending its shares soaring 52.3 percent in premarket trading.

The 89-patient study testing the drug, SAGE-217, showed statistically significant reduction of depression symptoms, when compared to a placebo.

Depression is a common mental illness characterized by persistent sadness and a loss of interest and lack of ability to do everyday activities and work.

The drug was granted fast-track designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in May, the company said.

Patients were assessed on a scale that rated the severity of their depression symptoms such as mood, feelings of guilt, suicidal thoughts and insomnia.

Sage’s postpartum depression drug succeeded in two late-stage studies in November, paving the way for it to bring to market the first FDA-approved treatment for the disorder.

The company’s shares jumped 52.3 percent to $140 in premarket trading.

Reporting by Akankshita Mukhopadhyay in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

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