Alkermes halts development of opioid-induced constipation drug

Alkermes PLC, a maker of drugs for addiction and mental illness, said it would end work on a medicine to treat constipation caused by opioids such as morphine after study results fell short of expectations.

The drug, ALKS 37, “did not satisfy our pre-specified criteria for advancing into phase 3 clinical trials,” said the Dublin-based company, which has a research facility in Cambridge.


The medicine was “generally well tolerated” by 150 patients in a phase 2 trial and eased constipation “compared to baseline.” Alkermes may try to license the compound to another company.

Other drugs Alkermes is working on include compounds to treat schizophrenia and depression. Its US products include Vivitrol, a once-a-month injection to treat alcoholism, and Risperdal Consta, for schizophrenia.

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