Merck pulls the plug on vintafolide

Shares of Endocyte (ECYT) crater after the close in response to its announcement that a Merck (MRK) subsidiary has decided to stop development of the cancer compound vintafolide and return the worldwide rights to Endocyte.

The company will evaluate its options with the product candidate after it analyzes the results from the Phase 2b clinical trial in patients with non-small cell lung cancer. In March, the firms reported that ventifolide met its primary endpoint of progression-free survival based on interim data. Overall response rates and overall survival trends were positive.

Vintafolide is an investigational small molecule drug conjugate (SMDC) consisting of folate linked to the vinca alkaloid chemotherapy agent desacetylvinblastine hydrazide. Vintafolide targets the chemo agent to rapidly growing cancer cells that actively take up folate via the folate receptor.

In May, the companies withdrew their marketing authorization applications from the EMA for vintafolide for the treatment of ovarian cancer due to lack of efficacy.

Shares are down 25% AH on heavy volume.

Comments (3)
  • ECapo
    , contributor
    Comments (745) | Send Message
    This is not really any news here. Merk may regret this if the other cancers affected have success.
    17 Jun 2014, 04:46 PM Reply Like
  • angela333333
    , contributor
    Comments (9) | Send Message
    The company is running trials for vintafolide as a treatment for lung cancer. That trial is currently in phase IIb testing, and key data results could come out at the end of 2014. RBC Capital Markets analyst Adnan Butt recently said that the lung cancer indication is the most important one because the market is bigger.
    17 Jun 2014, 09:02 PM Reply Like
  • biochemist
    , contributor
    Comments (797) | Send Message
    I think that MRK is putting its eggs into the pembrolizumab basket at this point. They reported more excellent data at ASCO 2 weeks ago.
    18 Jun 2014, 08:05 AM Reply Like
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