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Antigenics cancer vaccine misses study goal

Written by: Staff
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CHICAGO, June 6 (Reuters) Antigenics Inc Yesterday said a late-stage human trial of its investigational melanoma skin cancer vaccine, the company's leading potential product, did not reach its primary goal of proving it could beat other treatments.

The biotech company is now exploring combining the drug, Oncophage, with another treatment before it goes to the US Food and Drug Administration seeking approval, according to a spokesman for the company.

The clinical trial of 322 people found that patients fared similarly on its drug as on a standard treatment, among varying severity of melanoma patients.

Patients getting at least 10 doses of the drug showed a trend toward survival, the company said. It did the best in the least-sick patients.

About half of the patients getting Oncophage experienced a serious side effect, though researchers said only two of these cases were related to the drug.

The drug is being testing to treat metastatic melanoma, a form of skin cancer. Results were discussed at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Atlanta, Ga.

Skin cancers are the most common of all cancers, according to the American Cancer Society. Melanoma accounts for only about 4 per cent of skin cancer cases, but most of the deaths.

Oncophage is also being studied to treat kidney cancer, and the company will soon release results of a late-stage trial.

Shares fell 6 cents or 2.4 per cent to 2.43 dollars on Nasdaq in late morning trade.

REUTERS CH RK0840

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