SciClone: Pump Up the Volume

FOSTER CITY, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- SciClone Pharmaceuticals ( SCLN) was trading sharply lower on a jump in volume after the company said it ended a clinical trial of its late-stage pancreatic cancer drug treatment.

SciClone late Friday said it discontinued a placebo-controlled, double-blind Phase 2 trial of its RP101 drug candidate for the treatment of late-stage pancreatic cancer. The company said the decision to end the trial came on the recommendation of the Data Safety Monitoring Committee.

RP101, also known as BvdU, is a nucleoside analog which has shown, in several preclinical and clinical studies, the potential to prevent the induction of resistance to chemotherapy by suppressing genes involved in development of that resistance and enhancing sensitivity to chemotherapy, SciClone said in its statement.

SciClone shares were sinking on big volume. The stock was lately falling 63 cents, or 15.2%, to $$3.52, making it one of the Nasdaq's worst performers Monday. Earlier in the session, the stock touched an intraday low of $3.31.

More than 1.5 million shares changed hands by 2 p.m. Monday, compared to the stock's 50-day average daily volume of 700,000, according to the Nasdaq. SciClone has a 35.7 million-share float with a short interest float of 3.2% as of Sept. 10, according to Yahoo! Finance. More than 37% of the company's shares are held by insiders with another 15% owned by institutions.

Some investor posts on Internet message boards argued that despite SciClone's setback with RP101, the company has more prospects in the pipeline. Other traders said that SciClone has seen too many trials fail outside of China.

Read more about today's high-volume stocks like Frontier Financial in earlier "Pump Up the Volume" posts.

-- Written by Robert Holmes in New York.

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