Cerulean Pharma Fails to Extend Lives in Lung Cancer Study

Xconomy Boston — 

Cambridge, MA-based Cerulean Pharma spent a lot of time and money trying to get the answer to an important question—whether its new drug could extend the lives of terminally ill lung cancer patients.

The answer isn’t good.

Cerulean, the developer of a nanoparticle technology for delivering toxic chemotherapy to cancer cells, said today that its experimental drug CRLX101 failed to meet its main goal of helping patients live longer in a study of 157 patients in Russia and Ukraine. The drug did show signs of shrinking tumors, the company said, and it demonstrated “a favorable safety profile,” although it didn’t provide details on side effects.

“Late-stage lung cancer is a very difficult disease to treat, and we are disappointed that we did not achieve our ambitious goal of improving survival for patients who have limited treatment options,” said Cerulean CEO Oliver Fetzer (pictured above).

The failure of this trial isn’t the end for Cerulean or its technology. The company has four other ongoing clinical trials, and said it will study today’s results to help tailor its strategy for future studies. Cerulean has raised $84 million in venture capital since its founding in 2006, with technology from MIT and Caltech.