Takeda, Amgen to suspend trials of cancer drug

TOKYO, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical Co 4502.T and U.S. biotech firm Amgen Inc AMGN.O said they would suspend enrolment in the last-stage trials of a key cancer drug candidate following negative study results.

Takeda, Japan’s largest drugmaker, and Amgen will decide whether to resume or terminate the development of the drug, montesanib, after they complete reviewing data by an unspecified time, a Takeda spokeswoman said on Thursday.

The suspension was recommended by an independent study panel because of higher early mortality rates in patients using montesanib compared to those on the placebo in the tests, Takeda said in a joint statement with Amgen.

Montesanib is in Phase III trials as a first-line treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

Takeda, whose mainstay diabetes and ulcer drugs will lose their patent protection soon, has been moving to beef up its cancer drug business operations.

Shares of Takeda fell 2.6 percent to 4,550 yen, outperforming Japan's broader pharmaceuticals sector .IPHAM.T, down 3.2 percent. (Reporting by Yumiko Nishitani; Editing by Rodney Joyce)