Genta

(GNTA)

fell Friday after saying its main drug candidate failed to meet a clinical endpoint in a late-stage trial of cancer patients.

The Berkeley Heights, N.J., company said injections of its Genasense for patients with the blood cancer multiple myeloma failed to delay the disease's development in a statistically significant way. Genasense was in a phase III trial studying patients who had previously received extensive therapy for the condition.

The drug is supposed to block a cellular function that keeps chemotherapy from killing malignant cells. Genta had previously failed to win regulatory clearance for Genasense in melanoma.

"The strength of the preclinical data, combined with results from two preliminary, non-randomized trials, provided a strong rationale for this phase III study," the company said. "While we are disappointed with these results, we plan to analyze this trial in considerably more detail before making decisions regarding the Genasense program in myeloma."

The stock was recently down 20 cents, or 12%, to $1.45.