June 14, 2016 / 9:12 AM / 3 years ago

French prosecutors open probe into fatal drug trial

A logo is seen on a sign in front of the entrance of the Biotrial laboratory building in Rennes, France, January 15, 2016. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

PARIS (Reuters) - Paris prosecutors said on Tuesday they have begun an involuntary manslaughter investigation into a failed drug trial that left one dead and five hospitalised in January.

The prosecutors’ office said the investigation had been opened to determine whether there was a criminal element in any mistakes made or whether it was simply the result of clinical risks involved.

France’s Health Ministry said last month that Portuguese drugmaker Bial and French laboratory Biotrial were at fault “on several counts” for the drug trial.

Participants in the phase I trial were given the experimental drug made by Bial at a private facility in the city of Rennes run by France’s Biotrial.

All trials of the drug, designed to treat mood and anxiety issues as well as coordination disorders linked to neurological issues, have been suspended.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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