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Peregrine Pharmaceuticals’ (NASDAQ:PPHM) experimental cancer drug bavituximab proved in its Phase II trials to double the survival rate of lung cancer patients. Following today’s release of the trial’s interim data, shares in the company rose more than 40 percent to $4.59, which is triple what the stock traded for in May.
Researchers found that the 121 previously treated non-small cell lung cancer patients in the trial, given a low dose of the drug plus the chemotherapy drug docetaxel, lived for an average of 11.1 months. Those treated with chemotherapy alone averaged 5.6 months. Given by intravenous infusion, the drug’s genetically engineered antibody targets a lipid molecule found on tumor blood vessels that suppresses the body’s immune system.
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Bavituximab was also discovered to improved tumor response rates as well.
“Robust data from this Phase II trial clearly demonstrate a significant benefit in overall survival with a good safety profile in patients receiving bavituximab plus docetaxel compared to those receiving docetaxel plus placebo,” said president and chief executive officer of Peregrine Steven King in a press release.
But final results are far from assured. Of the patients who comprised the most recent trial group, less than half have died, compared with 70 percent of the control group, said Dr David Gerber, a principal trial investigator. Overall results will not be available until the end of the year.
To move bavituximab into the pivotal-stage trial, which it hopes to launch by the second quarter of next year, Peregrine is currently in discussions with potential partners.
Peregrine will make a presentation of the data on Friday afternoon at an American Society for Radiation Oncology sponsored conference held in Chicago.
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