Bad news out today from Infinity Pharmaceuticals. The Cambridge, MA-based biotech company said it is halting a mid-stage clinical trial of its drug for pancreatic cancer early after learning that patients were living longer in the placebo comparison group. Infinity (NASDAQ: INFI) shares fell more than 30 percent after the news.
The trial of 122 patients showed that when patients got Infinity’s saridegib (IPI-926) in addition to gemcitabine chemotherapy, they were living less than the six months they were expected to based on historical studies with the chemo drug alone. No unexpected side effects were seen among patients on the Infinity drug or in the control group, the company said.
This is a painful setback for Infinity. The company just last week released some more encouraging data from an early-phase study of the drug in 16 patients, which suggested it offered a benefit by shrinking tumors and helping them live a median time of about 10 months. The plan for this year was to wait for the results from the more rigorous study of 122 patients, to get a firm answer on whether it could help pancreatic cancer patients live more than the expected six months. Even though the drug failed in that study, Infinity said it still believes in the drug’s potential because it inhibits a pathway known as hedgehog that plays a role in multiple cancers. Infinity currently is testing the new compound in mid-stage trials against myelofibrosis and chondrosarcoma. Those studies are continuing, the company said.
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