CHICAGO ( TheStreet) -- An ASCO tale of two colon cancer drugs: One very good, that would be Roche's (RHHBY) Avastin, and one very, very bad, otherwise known as Keryx Pharmaceuticals' (KERX) perifosine.
Let's start with Keryx because everyone likes a smidge of schadenfreude once in awhile.
Keryx shares tanked in April on the failure of perifosine to prolong survival of colon cancer patients in a phase III trial, yet the detailed results of the negative study were kept under wraps until today at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting.
Patients in the control arm of the study lived longer than those treated with perifosine.DOH! The details: Median overall survival for patients treated with perifosine and Xeloda was 6.4 months compared to 6.8 months for patients treated with Xeloda and placebo. The hazard ratio was 1.11, which means perifosine actually raised the risk of patients dying faster. Now we understand why Keryx returned rights to perifosine to Canada's Aeterna Zentaris (AEZS). By doing so, Keryx also gave up on an ongoing phase III study of perifosine in multiple myeloma.
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