Geron halts breast cancer trial, stock hits life low
(Reuters) - Drugmaker Geron Corp lost more than half its market value after it said it halted a study of its experimental treatment for breast cancer and was unlikely to move forward in trials for advanced non-small cell lung cancer.
Geron stopped the mid-stage breast cancer trial after an interim check showed that the drug imetelstat was not better than the current recommended treatment in extending patients' lives without the disease progressing.
While an interim analysis of the company's non small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) study supported a modest benefit from the drug, Geron said it was doubtful about starting late-stage trials for the indication.
"These are two of their big opportunities gone away," Needham & Co analyst Chad Messer said. "The problem looks like some cross-toxicity between imetelstat and paclitaxel."
An internal review revealed that more patients given a combination of imetelstat and paclitaxel, an approved chemotherapy drug, were dying or discontinuing treatment, compared with those administered only paclitaxel.
The company's stock, which has more than doubled over the last three months, fell as much as 57 percent to a low of $1.24 on the Nasdaq. More than 12.5 million shares had changed hands by midday, about seven times the stock's average moving volumes.
Further development of the drug for blood disorders essential thrombocythemia and multiple myeloma have not been adversely impacted by these results, Geron said.
Analyst Messer said the silver lining was that there was no indication that the study results would hurt the remaining programs in hematological cancers, but added, "we do not have a lot of data (released on) whether (it) will or will not work."
The company is unlikely to undertake any cash-saving activity until the complete results of the study are available, Messer added.
Menlo Park, California-based Geron had $122 million in cash and cash investments at the end of the second quarter.
(Reporting By Vrinda Manocha in Bangalore; Editing by Anthony Kurian and Roshni Menon)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this