UPDATE 1-Novartis stops lung cancer drug trial, books charge

Thu Nov 11, 2010 1:46am EST

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(Adds details, background)

ZURICH, Nov, 11 (Reuters) - Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG (NOVN.VX), said on Thursday it would stop the clinical trial programme for an investigational cancer drug after an appraisal following disappointing results in late-stage research in March.

The company said the trial of the drug, ASA404 or vadimezan, was stopped early based on a recommendation from an independent data monitoring committee after failing to extend patient survival in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer.

The group said it would take an impairment charge of around $120 million in the fourth quarter against the discontinued trial of the drug, researched in partnership with British cancer specialist Antisoma ASM.L.

Novartis, the maker of high blood pressure drug Diovan, had said in March it was evaluating the overall clinical programme for ASA404 in both lung cancer and other indications after it failed in the late-stage trial. [ID:nLDE62S070] (Reporting by Martin de Sa'Pinto; Editing by Hans Peters)

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