Shares of Oncothyreon climbed Wednesday after the company said its partner Merck Serono will run another late-stage trial of an experimental cancer therapy.
Oncothyreon said Merck Serono will study the drug as a treatment for advanced and inoperable non-small lung cancer in patients whose disease is stable after at least two rounds of platinum-based chemotherapy and radiation treatment. It will be designed to measure how long patients live after treatment.
Oncothyreon Inc. shares rose 39 cents, or 21.7 percent, to $2.19 in morning trading Wednesday. They are xx percent below their 52-week high of $5.74 set almost a year ago. They traded as low as $1.55 in June.
The Seattle company Is now calling the therapy tecemotide. It was previously called Stimuvax and L-BLP25. Tecemotide is designed to work by stimulating the body’s immune system so that it can identify and destroy cancer cells. It is the most advanced of Oncothyreon’s experimental drugs. The company doesn’t have any products on the market.
In December Oncothyreon said patients who were treated with tecemotide did not live significantly longer than patients who were given a placebo. However the company said in May that patients who had received chemotherapy and radiation appeared to live longer after treatment with tecemotide: it said patients who received that regimen survived for 30.8 months, compared to 20.6 months for patients who received chemotherapy, radiation and a placebo. The new trial will include only patients who received those treatments.
Merck Serono is a unit of German company Merck KGaA, and it licensed the drug from Oncothyreon.