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TheStreet Open House

Biotech Stock Mailbag: Oncothyreon

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- If it's Friday, it's time to open the Biotech Stock Mailbag. The first email comes from John B., who asks:

"Adam, what are your thoughts on Oncothyreon (ONTY) here? (Timing, studies, et al) I've talked to a couple of pulmonologists about the data. One said the patient sub-population was way too small to draw any conclusions at all, the other said, wow, if those effects are real, Stimuvax will become incorporated into standard of care quickly."

Stimuvax is a cancer immunotherapy, or "vaccine," that Oncothyreon licensed to Merck KGaA. The German drugmaker is running a large phase III study of Stimuvax in non-small cell lung cancer patients. Enrollment is still under way so I don't believe Merck's provided guidance on when this Stimuvax lung cancer study, with overall survival as the primary endpoint, will be completed.

John's chat with the pulmonologists was about results from a Stimuvax phase II study published in September 2005 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Data from this study were mixed -- as John's doctor comments illustrate -- which makes it hard to handicap the success of the phase III studies.

I get a lot of email about Oncothyreon but didn't realize until this week that this is the company formerly known as Biomira. The corporate makeover came about in December 2007 after a relocation from Canada to the U.S.

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