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Eisai's pivotal hopes for ovarian cancer drug dashed by PhIII flop

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Back in 2007 when Japan's Eisai agreed to pay $325 million in cash for the U.S.-based Morphotek, the pharma company had high hopes for the biotech's pipeline-leading drug focused on ovarian cancer. But those hopes could not live up to a pivotal test as farletuzumab, also known as MORAb-003, failed to hit a statistically significant goalpost for progression-free survival.

Investigators recruited 1,100 patients for the Phase III study, which compared farletuzumab with standard of care for advanced patients. No data was published in the release, but Eisai says that researchers identified some promising trends in patient subsets in a post hoc analysis. That won't provide any near-term opportunities with regulators, but it does give Eisai a chance to construct a new research strategy for its U.S. subsidiary's drug program.

"After further analysis of these clinical results, the company will determine a new development strategy based on discussion with external experts and the relevant health authorities," Eisai said in a statement. The company added that investigators tracked some commonly recognized side effects during the study, along with an unspecified immune response.

Morphotek is based in Exton, PA, and was founded in 2000 to develop newly discovered monoclonal antibodies.

- here's the press release

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