Cancer drug failure sinks Telik shares

From Reuters

Telik Inc. said Tuesday that its experimental cancer drug failed to improve survival in patients with advanced lung cancer or in patients with ovarian cancer, sending its stock plunging more than 70%.

The Palo Alto-based biotechnology company said a late-stage, or Phase III, trial of its most advanced drug, Telcyta, didn't significantly improve survival in patients with advanced lung cancer who had failed other treatments.

Neither did the drug improve survival for patients with resistant ovarian cancer, the company said.

"These results are extremely disappointing," Dr. Michael Wick, Telik's chief executive, said in a statement.

A third late-stage trial, designed to demonstrate significant tumor shrinkage in patients with ovarian cancer, may not be suitable to submit to regulators because of discrepancies between the clinical review of the tumor scans and the independent radiology review, the company said.

About 25% of the patients were discontinued from the trial early.

The company said it was conducting additional analyses of data from the trials.

The lung cancer trial tested 520 patients, of whom some received Telcyta while others received a drug called gefitinib.

The 440-patient ovarian cancer trial tested patients who had failed other treatments, some of whom received Telcyta and some received the drugs liposomal doxorubicin or topotecan.

The company's shares fell $11.49, or 71%, to $4.77.

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