This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
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
TheStreet Open House

Synta Suffers From Premature Stock Promotion Syndrome

Stocks in this article: SNTA

LEXINGTON, Mass. ( TheStreet) -- One day, Synta Pharmaceuticals (SNTA) will actually complete a drug study before issuing a press release touting fantastic results. Monday was not that day.

On Monday, Synta said four of 15 breast cancer patients reported significant tumor shrinkage following treatment with the company's experimental HSP90 inhibitor ganetespib. Two of the responding patients are diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer, which is aggressive and particularly difficult to treat.

The problem is that this phase II study of ganetespib was designed to enroll 70 breast cancer patients. Synta started the study one year ago and was supposed to have complete results ready in October, according to the study's protocol listed on ClinicalTrials.gov.

Instead, it's almost August and Synta announces "preliminary" results from just 15 patients.

Ganetespib may hold promise as a breast cancer treatment, but a signal of activity derived from 70 patients would be a lot more convincing than from 15 patients, particularly in a study where the company has the ability to monitor every patient's results in real time.

Synta pulled the same stunt with a mid-stage study of ganetespib in lung cancer patients. In fact, the company pushed ahead with the start of a phase III lung cancer study before the phase II study was finished.

Wall Street has not been happy with this rash decision, which explains why Synta's stock price is down 48% year to date.

But on Monday, Synta shares are up 44 percent to $7.28, so today's press release accomplished its primary goal.

Two more things:

A prior study of ganetespib in breast cancer patients wasn't as successful, failing to meet the pre-specified criteria for response rate.

As I said above, a big advantage of open-label studies is that companies can monitor results in real time. Synta directors Bill Reardon, Keith Gollust, Bruce Kovner, Donald Kufe and Bob Wilson all received thousands of shares of Synta stock for free on July 1.

-- Reported by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.

Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
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 17,072.31 +98.00 0.58%
S&P 500 0.00 -2.75 -0.14%
NASDAQ 4,535.9230 -13.3030 -0.29%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • 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