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Update: I stand corrected. My apologies. Cel-Sci has enrolled a single patient into its phase III head-and-neck cancer study of Multikine, according to a press release issued on March 29 not by Cel-Sci but by a Mississippi hospital participating in the trial. That puts the score at 16 Cel-Sci press releases publicizing the start of the Multikine study to one patient enrolled. The original version of this column stated incorrectly that Cel-Sci had not enrolled any patients yet.
VIENNA, Va. (
TheStreet) -- How many press releases does it take to announce the start of a late-stage cancer drug clinical trial?
You'd think a single announcement would suffice, right? Not if you're
Cel-Sci(CVM - Get Report) and the drug in question is
Multikine. This is a bit hard to believe, but Cel-Sci has issued 16 (!!!) press releases over the past year publicizing or promising the start of the Multikine phase III study in head-and-neck cancer.
Sixteen press releases!
The funniest bit: In the first of these press releases, issued on May 5, 2010, Cel-Sci said the first patient would be enrolled in the Multikine trial by the third quarter 2010. Cel-Sci missed the mark by six months. While Cel-Sci has still not said anything about patient enrollment, a Mississippi hospital announced in late March that it was treating a single patient.
For most drug companies, to "start" a clinical trial means enrolling patients. Not so much for Cel-Sci, apparently.
At this rate, Cel-Sci is on track to issue more press releases about the "start" of the Multikine study than the actual number of patients -- 800 -- expected to finally enroll.
I feel badly for Cel-Sci's PR man Gavin de Windt, who is running out of ways to entice investors with old and irrelevant news. Take today, for instance, Cel-Sci said Taiwan granted "final government approval" to commence the study.
Back on Dec. 12, 2010, however, Cel-Sci told investors that Taiwan had granted "government approval" for the same study. Not the same thing? Really?
Two months before that, on Oct. 12, 2010, Cel-Sci issued a press release heralding the approval of the study by a Taiwanese institutional review board.
India and Russia/Ukraine were also countries receiving the multi-Multikine press release treatment. As I've said before, Cel-Sci is taking investors on an around-the-world tour as it issues press releases on each and every country allowing the Multikine phase III study to proceed -- Russia, Ukraine, Taiwan, Hungary, Mississippi (a state, not a country, I know), India, Canada, Israel.
It takes a village to raise a child but a mini-U.N. to conduct a Multikine phase III study.
But you already knew that. Sixteen times over.
--Written by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.
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