September 23, 2015 / 12:20 PM / 5 years ago

OncoGenex's pancreatic cancer drug found ineffective in study

(Reuters) - Drug developer OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals Inc said its experimental combination therapy for pancreatic cancer was not effective in a mid-stage study.

The intravenous drug, apatorsen, when added to Celgene Corp’s combination treatment of Abraxane and chemotherapy drug gemcitabine, did not show any survival benefit when compared with the Abraxane combination alone, OncoGenex said.

The company’s shares fell nearly 11 percent to $2.60 in premarket trading on Wednesday.

Pancreatic cancer continues to be the fourth-leading cause of cancer death in the United States, with most patients dying within the first year of diagnosis.

OncoGenex said that while fewer patients taking apatorsen had discontinued treatment due to the disease progressing, more patients stopped the therapy due to adverse events such as anemia, fatigue and neutropenia, an abnormally low white blood cell count.

The company is also conducting mid-stage tests for apatorsen to treat lung, prostate and bladder cancers.

Bothell, Washington-based Oncogenex is also testing its other drug, custirsen, in a late-stage study to improve survival rates in patients with prostrate cancer.

Reporting By Samantha Kareen Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Savio D'Souza

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