LONDON ( TheStreet) --Another experimental lung cancer drug came up short Monday. Small British drug maker Antisoma ( ATSMY.PK) shut down a phase III study of its lung cancer drug ASA404 after an interim analysis revealed little chance that the drug would prolong survival, the company said. Antisoma licensed ASA404 to Novartis, which will now review the drug's future but will likely halt development, Antisoma CEO Glyn Edwards told Reuters. Antisoma shares plunged 70% in European trading. The setback for ASA404 in non-small cell lung cancer comes soon after two other drugs for non-small cell lung cancer from Pfizer ( PFE) and Novelos Therapeutics ( NVLT.OB), respectively, also failed phase III studies. The ASA404 phase III study enrolled patients previously untreated for non-small cell lung cancer, randomizing them to ASA404 plus chemotherapy or chemotherapy alone. The study's interim analysis showed the study to be futile, which means ASA404 treatment was unlikely to help lung cancer patients live longer. Antisoma had high hopes for ASA404 because an earlier, randomized phase II study demonstrating that patients treated with ASA404 plus chemotherapy reported a median overall survival of 14 months compared to patients treated with chemotherapy alone who had a median overall survival of 8.4 months. Antisoma is also testing leukemia drug ASA1413 in a phase III study.
Arca is developing bucindolol with a companion genetic test that will help doctors determine which heart failure patients are likely to respond to treatment with the drug. The FDA refused to approve bucindolol last year, forcing Arca to conduct the new clinical trial. -- Reported by Adam Feuerstein in Boston. Follow Adam Feuerstein on Twitter.