This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Threshold's Pancreatic Cancer Drug May be Obsolete Before Launch

Stocks in this article: THLD CELG CLVS LLY

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Threshold Pharmaceuticals (THLD) reported positive pancreatic cancer survival data this weekend from a Phase IIb study of TH-302, a prodrug that releases chemotherapy under hypoxic (low oxygen) conditions, at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) conference. Unfortunately, the TH-302 results show lots of variability and the comparison arm in the study may soon be outdated, making the drug's prospects difficult to interpret.

Given Threshold's $399 million market capitalization, estimated $60 million in cash, and the long wait for definitive phase III data in pancreatic cancer, I'm not sure there's much to do with the stock at current levels. Threshold closed Friday at $7.24.

I don't have a strong view about Threshold but I lean negative, especially because the company will likely need to raise additional capital.

Threshold's phase IIb study enrolled 214 pancreatic cancer patients randomized to receive TH-302 (at doses of 240 mg or 340 mg) plus gemcitabine or gemcitabine plus a placebo. ( Eli Lilly (LLY) sold a branded version of gemcitabine under the Gemzar label until the chemotherapy drug went generic in 2010).

Earlier this year, Threshold reported progression-free survival (PFS) in the TH-302 high dose arm reached 6.0 months, slightly outperforming the low dose and significantly exceeding the PFE of 3.6 months observed for the control group. Response rates supported the PFS benefit. At the higher dose, TH-302 recipients had a 26% overall response rate (ORR), including two complete responses, compared to a 17% and 10% ORR for the low-dose and control arms, respectively.

At ESMO this weekend, we learned that patients in the TH-302 high and low dose groups had a median overall survival of 9.2 months and 8.7 months, respectively, versus 6.9 months for gemcitabine alone. Although the hazard ratio (HR) -- a measure of relative risk between drug and control -- barely shows a benefit (HR = 0.96 for both arms), investigators noted that post-progression crossover muddled the results. The adjusted survival data were excluded from the ESMO slides, but post hoc analysis shows a modestly greater survival benefit for TH-302 recipients once crossover patients are excluded (HR = 0.77 and 0.76 for the high and low dose groups, respectively).

1 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • 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 Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 18,030.21 +6.04 0.03%
S&P 500 2,081.88 -0.29 -0.01%
NASDAQ 4,773.4720 +8.0480 0.17%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs