* Drug tested for ovarian cancer patients
* Partner says more analysis needed to clarify efficacy
* Shares fall as much as 17 percent
(Adds analyst comment, updates stock movement)
Aug 9 Drug developer Curis Inc (CRIS.O) said
partner Roche Holding AG ROG.VX informed it that preliminary
findings from a mid-stage study of their experimental cancer
drug, "warranted additional investigation" to clarify the
drug's efficacy in treating advanced ovarian cancer patients.
Curis shares fell 11 percent to $1.55 Monday afternoon on
Nasdaq. They touched a low of $1.45 earlier in the day.
"This news does not send a positive signal to investors ...
the news omits what is evident to us at this point that the
primary endpoint of the study was not or will not be met," Roth
Capital Partners analyst Joseph Pantginis said.
Roche and its unit Genentech indicated that they plan to
further analyze the data, including subset analyses, in the
coming months, Curis said in a statement.
"Following these analyses, (Roche and Genentech) expect to
make a portfolio decision regarding whether, or to what extent,
they will continue development of the drug in advanced ovarian
cancer," Curis said.
The preliminary trial data however showed no new safety
concerns, Curis said.
In June, the drug, code-named GDC-0449, failed to meet its
goals in a mid-stage trial in patients with metastatic
Analyst Pantginis, who cut his price target on the stock to
$3.00 from $3.50, said the recent failure in colorectal cancer
and ovarian cancer further decreased confidence in the drug.
The drug, which is also being developed for several other
indications, is part of a new class of medicines that block the
Hedgehog signaling pathway, the malfunction of which plays a
role in abnormal cell growth. [ID:nSGE65F0G0]
Pantginis now expects only a 40 percent chance for the
drug's success in treating basal cell carcinoma (BCC) or skin
cancer, its other closely watched indication. He previously had
a 60 percent expectation of success.
Roche and Genentech indicated that it expects data from a
privotal mid-stage trial evaluating the drug for treating
advanced BCC in 2011.
(Reporting by Krishnakali Sengupta in Bangalore; Editing by
Prem Udayabhanu, Anthony Kurian)