Failure in pivotal PhIII brain cancer trial drags Israel’s VBL Therapeutics down

VBL Therapeutics $VBLT is in crisis mode this morning after it announced that its lead drug flunked a Phase III study in brain cancer.

Dror Harats

The trial, which compared a combo of VB-111 and Roche’s Avastin (bevacizumab) against Avastin alone among patients with recurrent glioblastoma, failed the primary endpoint of overall survival. That’s dispiriting news for the Tel Aviv-based micro-cap, which has touted VB-111’s orphan drug and fast track designations every chance it gets.

VBL’s stock took a steep cut at the news, plunging 68% in pre-market trading.

“We are disappointed that our encouraging Phase II data were not replicated in the GLOBE Phase III study, and once we receive the full and final data we will be analyzing them carefully to better understand the outcome of the study,” CEO Dror Harats said in a statement, which stuck to the top-line results. “We believe that VB-111 may still hold promise for other indications we currently or may study in the future.”

VB-111, a “gene therapy agent” consisting of a viral vector, a promoter and a transgene, remains in the pipeline for ovarian cancer, thyroid cancer and lung cancer. None of them, however, has been as advanced as the failed program in brain cancer.

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
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Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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