pillsTomahawk, WI 4/5/2013 (Expedated) – Nothing like bad news to start the weekend off on the wrong foot.

That’s what is happening with Rigel Pharmaceuticals Inc. (RIGL) who is down over 35% in the morning session. Rigel is a drugmaker with no products on the market, but the company is going through a trial with an experimental rheumatoid arthritis medicine that is being developed with AstraZeneca Plc (AZN).  The news is not good so far and has showed mixed results in the trial.

The treatment, fostamatinib, showed statistically significant improvement in a measure of arthritis signs and symptoms in the study known as Oskira-1, London-based AstraZeneca said in a statement today. Fostamatinib didn’t show improvement in an X-ray that tracks the progression of joint damage, the company said.

“The jury is still out on fostamatinib,” David Ferreiro, an analyst with Oppenheimer & Co., wrote in a research report today. He has an “outperform” recommendation on Rigel. “Overall, we expect downside in the shares” and need more data to “reach a conclusion.”

The trial shows the drug “has an effect on the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis,” Briggs Morrison, executive vice president of AstraZeneca’s global medicines development, said in the statement. “We will await the results of the remaining Phase III studies, Oskira-2 and Oskira-3, to further evaluate and characterize the profile of fostamatinib as a potential treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.”

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