Tasquinimod works, says Phase II study
05.06.2012 - Swedish Active Biotech draws new hope from a Phase II result with prostate cancer drug tasquinimod.
Lund – Almost a year ago Swedish Active Biotech AB saw its stock value dwindling away when the oral multiple sclerosis drug laquinimod failed in crucial Phase III testing. Although the price per share has doubled when compared to the start of the year, SEK44 is still far away from its last 12-month-cycle climax roughly a year ago.
On 4 June, Andrew Armstrong from the Duke Cancer Institute in Durham (USA) presented data on a long-term follow-up of a randomised Phase II placebo-controlled trial with Active Biotech's tasquinimod. The talk, given at the 2012 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago (USA), focussed on the median overall survival times of patients suffering from castrate resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) which increased from 30.4 months (placebo) to 33.4 months (tasquinimod). Armstrong expressed that these findings surprised him: "Men with metastatic CRPC in this trial were unexpectedly found to have prolonged survival times, despite a high fraction of patients with liver and lung metastases."
Active Biotech is developing the drug together with Ipsen group, a pharmaceutical company from Paris (France) employing 4,500 people. Ipsen's CSO Claude Betrand was eager to announce he's pleased with the results: "We are thrilled. The results underline the activity of the compound. With its differentiated mechanism of action [not targeting the androgen receptor pathway] we hope to propose an alternative treatment after the ongoing Phase III results have replicated these interesting findings." So far 600 patients have been recruited for the double-blind Phase III study. In the end the study will include 1,200 patients from more than 250 clinics.