Inspire Pharmaceuticals has stopped two Phase II trials of a drug for the eye disease macular edema after seeing little efficacy in the studies.

The first study of INS37217 (denufosol tetrasodium intravitreal injection), which enrolled 12 patients with persistent macular edema associated with uveitis, did not demonstrate an improvement in either reduction in retinal thickness or improvement in visual acuity.

The second study, which was designed to assess the compound in patients with persistent macular edema following cataract surgery, was discontinued by the firm because it was unable to recruit enough patients.

Christy Shaffer, Inspire's president, said that the decision to suspend its retinal program was taken following its recent portfolio review, when the firm decided to concentrate resources on programs with higher potential value. The company added that it would continue to monitor patients who had taken part in the aborted study for a period of one year to ensure safety.