Helsinn stops cancer drug clinical trial

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exilixisBiotech drug developer Exelixis Inc. said Thursday its licensee, Helsinn Healthcare SA, discontinued a late-stage cancer drug clinical trial when it was found that chemotherapy was more effective.

Helsinn discontinued enrollment of new patients in the becatecarin (XL119) Phase III clinical trial. The anticancer compound targets tumors of the biliary tract, which helps connect the liver to the small intestine.

Helsinn reported that preliminary analysis of the Phase III data by an independent data monitoring committee indicated that patients treated with chemotherapy demonstrated greater-than-expected survival rates by comparison.

Exelixis licensed becatecarin from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. in 2001 and then licensed it out to Helsinn in 2005.

Shares of Exelixis fell 47 cents, or 5.3 percent, to $8.35 in after-hours trading on the INET electronic exchange, after losing 12 cents to close at $8.82 on the Nasdaq.

source -  AP