said Monday that its experimental prostate cancer drug zibotentan failed to prolong survival in a pivotal, phase III study, eliminating a competing threat to
prostate cancer therapy Provenge.
As a result of the failed study, AstraZeneca said it will not seek regulatory approval for zibotentan at this time. Two other phase III studies of the drug in prostate cancer are underway.
Dendreon is an immediate beneficiary of AstraZeneca's setback because the zibotentan study was enrolling the same type of advanced, hormone-refractory prostate cancer patients who are, right now, eligible for treatment with
Provenge, making the drugs direct competitors were zibotentan to be approved
Moreover, zibotentan is a pill taken once a day, making it more convenient and likely less expensive than Provenge -- a personalized vaccine requiring special manufacturing and three infusions over the course of one month.
Details of the failed zibotentan study were being withheld for presentation at a future medical meeting, AstraZeneca said.
Enthusiasm for zibotentan was dampened earlier this month after the survival benefit reported earlier in a phase II prostate cancer study of zibotentan narrowed and fell out of statistical significance, according to a final analysis of the study published in a medical journal.
AstraZeneca shares were down slightly at the start of trading in Europe. Dendreon shares closed Friday at $42.58.
--Written by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.
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