Oncolytics Pumps Stock With Worsening Lung Cancer Drug Data

CALGARY ( TheStreet) -- Oncolytics Biotech continues to mislead investors about the clinical profile of its experimental cancer drug Reolysin.The company's latest stock-promoting stunt: Issuing a press release Monday ( ONCY) claiming "positive final" results from a mid-stage study of Reolysin in lung cancer. Reality check: The new Reolysin data are actually worse than what Oncolytics reported last March.

Oncolytics says the final analysis of the phase II study involves 25 patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the lung. All the patients were treated with Reolysin in combination with the chemotherapy drugs carboplatin and paclitaxel. The study has no control arm, making results clinically meaningless.

Per today's press release, of the 25 patients evaluated, 10 patients showed partial tumor shrinkage, equal to an overall response rate of 40%.

Last March, Oncolytics reported results from 21 patients in the same study. At that time, nine patients reported partial tumor shrinkage for an overall response rate of 43%.

So, in about five months, Oncolytics managed to enroll another four lung cancer patients into this trial, with just one additional tumor response.

Oncolytics actually first reported results from this lung cancer study in February. At that time, the company had enrolled 20 patients with 9 showing tumor shrinkage, or an overall response rate of 45%.

According to ClinicalTrials.gov, the Reolysin lung cancer study was designed to enroll 55 patients. The study is no longer recruiting patients, so if today's results are "final" -- as Oncolytic claims -- where are the missing 30 patients?

-- 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.

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