Pipeline updates are highly awaited events in the pharma/biotech
sector as they play an important role in deciding whether or not to
invest in a particular company. These updates provide information
on experimental drugs and at times give an insight into the
commercial potential of the candidate once it is successfully
developed and commercialized.
Earlier this week,
OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
) announced that its oncology candidate, apatorsen, is in an
investigator-sponsored, randomized, open-label phase II study
(Cedar) for advanced squamous cell lung cancer.
The study will enroll about 140 treatment-naive patients. The
patients will be treated with apatorsen plus Gemzar and carboplatin
or Gemzar and carboplatin alone. The study will evaluate tumor
response rates, overall survival, safety, tolerability and
health-related quality of life of the patients on once-weekly
intravenous administration of apatorsen. The primary endpoint of
the study is progression-free survival.
Lung cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer and affects nearly
1.6 million patients every year. According to OncoGenex, it is the
leading cause of cancer death in the U.S.
We are pleased to see OncoGenex progress with apatorsen. The
company is working on strengthening its oncology pipeline. The
Cedar study is a part of OncoGenex's ORCA (
n-going Studies Evaluating Treatment
ncer) program, designed to evaluate whether the inhibition of the
production of heat shock protein 27 (Hsp27) can improve cancer
treatment and patient outcomes. Currently, apatorsen is in seven
phase II studies for four types of cancer − bladder, lung,
pancreatic and prostate cancers. Results from the Borealis-1 study
(metastatic bladder cancer) should be out in the second half of
Additionally, OncoGenex intends to complete patient enrollment in
the phase II Spruce study on apatorsen (non-squamous non small cell
lung cancer) and phase III AFFINTIY study on custirsen (second-line
chemotherapy) by year end.
OncoGenex carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks
in the health care sector include
Synergy Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Lannett Company, Inc.
ARIAD Pharmaceuticals Inc.
). While Synergy carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Lannett and
ARIAD hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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