Drug Development

OncoMed’s bad, no good, disastrous month continues as another PhII flops, PhIb trial is shuttered

OncoMed CEO Paul J. Hastings

A few days ago, shares of OncoMed $OMED were blitzed by the news that its top drug demcizumab had flopped in a Phase II study, following it up with the news that Bayer bypassed a tie-up on two other key programs. This morning the biotech added that its drug tarextumab plus chemo also failed a Phase II study. And investigators decided to drop a Phase Ib trial of brontictuzumab after they determined that the drug regimen was not tolerated by patients.

All of this happened just a year after its then number-two drug foundered in Phase II as well.

Tarextumab was being tested in a study involving 145 patients with extensive small cell lung cancer. But the PINNACLE study provided no evidence the drug significantly improved either overall survival or progression-free survival when compared to the chemo-plus-placebo arm.

Brontictuzumab was being studied in combination with trifluridine/tipiracil (Lonsurf) in third-line colorectal cancer patients.

Now the biotech has to determine what kind of future, if any, it has left. The company started this morning with its stock pegged at $4.84 before the open, down 67% from its 12-month high year. Shares immediately dropped 30% on the news.

“Based on the events of today and last week, we will be undertaking a comprehensive portfolio prioritization review immediately,” said CEO Paul Hastings.  “The immediate task ahead is to thoroughly examine the available data, our resources and the opportunities to re-focus our efforts. We ended the first quarter of 2017 with $156.9 million in cash and short-term investments.”


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