Celldex axes two more programs to cut costs following glembatumumab failure; Ziopharm stock slides on halted brain cancer trial

→ New Jersey-based biotech Celldex $CLDX is cutting two programs from its pipeline, hoarding resources after the failure of its lead breast cancer drug glembatumumab in late April. The company is axing its Phase I renal cell and clear cell ovarian carcinoma drug CDX-014, along with its CDX-1401 program, an off-the-shelf dendritic cell-targeting vaccine.

“Celldex has made considerable progress on an important strategic prioritization of our pipeline, following (the)…discontinuation of the glembatumumab program across all indications,” said Anthony Marucci, co-founder, president and CEO of Celldex Therapeutics, in a statement. “In 2018, we will focus primarily on continued clinical development of two company-sponsored programs — CDX-1140, a promising CD40 agonist, and CDX-3379, which blocks ErbB3, a receptor thought to play an important role in regulating cancer cell growth and survival.”

By shuttering these programs and cutting 20% of its staff last month, the company believes its financial resources will get Celldex through 2020.

→ Shares of Ziopharm slid 8% $ZIOP in early trading Friday as investors reacted to the news that it is hitting the brakes on a pivotal study of Ad-RTS-hIL-12 plus a 20mg dose of veledimex for brain cancer. “The Company is progressing in resolving previously disclosed technical requirements related to Chemistry and Manufacturing Control, making this asset phase-3 ready for rGBM,” the company reports. 

With contribution by John Carroll.

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VP Oncology Biology
Skyhawk Therapeutics Waltham, MA
Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT

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