OncoGenex's Apatorsen in Phase II for Lung Cancer - Analyst Blog


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. ( OGXI ) 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 ( O n-going Studies Evaluating Treatment R esistance in CA 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 2014.

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. ( SGYP ), Lannett Company, Inc. ( LCI ) and ARIAD Pharmaceuticals Inc. ( ARIA ). While Synergy carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Lannett and ARIAD hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Business , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: ARIA , OGXI , SGYP , LCI



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