Cel-Sci's Enrollment Math Doesn't Add up

Cel-Sci (CVM) provided another patient enrollment update Friday for its Multikine phase III study in head-and-neck cancer. Unfortunately, the company's math is wildly optimistic.

Over the last three months, Cel-Sci enrolled 47 patients into the study. This prompted Cel-Sci CEO Geert Kersten to make the following prediction:

We reached an important milestone in July with total patient enrollment reaching 232, which is over one-quarter of the total 880 patients we expect to enroll by the end of 2015. We are on track with the pace of enrollment, which should accelerate in the fall based on the increasing number of clinical centers joining our study.
It's a slow summer Friday, so let's have fun with math. 

In order to enroll the remaining 648 patients into the Multikine study by the end of 2015 -- 16 months from today -- Cel-Sci needs to average 40.5 patients per month, or 121.5 patients per quarter. 

In the last three months, Cel-Sci enrolled 47 patients, so starting today, the pace of enrollment has to almost triple in order for the company to meet its end of 2015 target. That would be quite the accomplishment. 

Cel-Sci is scouring the globe seeking hospitals with patients to enroll in the Multikine study, so let's assume the company is somewhat successful and doubles the quarterly rate of enrollment to 94 patients. Unlikely, but I'm feeling generous (it's a summer Friday.) At this accelerated enrollment pace, Cel-Sci would manage to enroll all 880 patients in 21 months, or May 2016. 

The really bad news, but more realistic: The pace of enrollment doesn't really budge much from today's 47 patients per quarter. At this rate, Cel-Sci will complete enrollment in the Multikine study in three and a half years, or February 2018. 

Enjoy your weekend. 

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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