[Free Report] Merck KGaA Ends Cancer Vaccine Trials; RTRX Takes Heat
Following the failure of tecemotide (formerly known as Stimuvax) in a Phase I/II study in Japanese patients, Merck has decided to discontinue all clinical development of the drug, including the Phase III START2 and INSPIRE non-small cell lung cancer trials.
Tecemotide is a MUC1 antibody-specific immunotherapy licensed from biotech company Oncothyreon. It had previously failed to demonstrate an overall survival benefit in the initial START pivotal trial.
Separately, Retrophin took a beating from the media yesterday as news spread of a significant increase in pricing for the cystinuria drug Thiola from $1.50 a tablet to over $30. This 20-fold increase drives the annual cost to about $100,000 due to the need for patients to take multiple pills a day.
CEO Martin Shkreli has been assailed for price gouging and predatory activities. The brash young CEO went on Reddit to defend his firm, pledging that no cystinuria patients would go untreated for a lack of resources.
Retrophin acquired rights to Thiola from Mission Pharmacal in May this year. Although it is generic and has no patent protection, there are no other manufacturers.
Author has no position in stocks mentioned