Genta Takes a Spin With Genasense Study
Editor's note: Adam Feuerstein's columns run exclusively on RealMoney.com; this is a special free look at his column. For a free trial subscription to RealMoney.com, please click here.
Back in July, after polling a group of trusted health care fund managers, I called Genta (GNTA) one of the riskiest stocks in the biotech sector. Why? Because of the widely held belief that the trials of its experimental antisense cancer drug Genasense would fail, but Genta would nonetheless find something positive to say. That may throttle short-sellers, who now control 28% of the company's freely traded shares.
It seems like that prediction has come true.
Genta said Wednesday that Genasense failed to significantly extend overall survival in patients with advanced skin cancer, according to results from a large, phase III clinical trial.But despite the negative results shown in the study's primary endpoint, Genta is claiming victory and says it is filing the drug for approval with the Food and Drug Administration. The question left unanswered is what happens to Genta's stock today. Will investors believe the company's spin? Or will they look at the Genasense data and note that the melanoma study's primary endpoint -- the most important, clinically relevant goal of the study -- came up way short? Genta has always been a battleground stock between longs and shorts. Wednesday's announcement is only going to intensify the fighting, which I reckon will go on for a long time.
A Look at the ResultsLet's get right to the data, starting with the most important goal of the melanoma study: the primary endpoint of overall survival. By the generally accepted statistical measures of efficacy, the Genasense study, enrolling 771 patients on an intent-to-treat basis, was a failure. Melanoma patients who received a combination of Genasense and chemotherapy survived an average of 9.1 months. Patients receiving just chemotherapy survived 7.9 months. That's an increase in survival of just over one month in favor of Genasense.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV