May 14 Prima BioMed Ltd said its experimental lead treatment improved survival in some ovarian cancer patients without the disease worsening.
The mid-stage trial was testing the drug, CVac, in 63 patients who showed no signs or symptoms of the disease after one or two rounds of treatment.
Patients, who experienced remission after two rounds of chemotherapy, showed a median survival of 12.91 months without the cancer worsening, compared to 4.94 months for those receiving only chemotherapy.
The Australian company said the drug failed to prove as effective as standard therapy in patients who experienced remission after one round of chemotherapy.
CVac, like Dendreon Corp's prostate cancer vaccine Provenge, is a form of immunotherapy that stimulates the patient's immune system to target and destroy tumors.
Once touted as the next big thing in biotechnology, the $93,000-per-year Provenge failed to live up to expectations, hurt by uncertainty over insurance coverage and competition from cheaper drugs.
CVac, which is also being tested for use in pancreatic cancer, is likely to be priced between $75,000-$125,000 per year if approved, Prima BioMed Chief Executive Matthew Lehman said.
Ovarian cancer, one of the most frequent gynecological malignancies, has no effective screening method and is sometimes called 'the cancer that whispers' because it often progresses before symptoms arise. The majority of patients with advanced-stage cancer tend to relapse and need additional therapy.
Ovarian cancer is the eighth most common cancer and the fifth leading cause of cancer death in American women, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Reporting by Natalie Grover in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)