Algeta shares spike on promising prostate cancer drug data

Shares of Norway's Algeta spiked 36 percent this morning after the biotech's partner Bayer unveiled promising data on their castration-resistant prostate cancer treatment Alpharadin (radium-223 chloride). Median overall survival for patients with symptomatic bone metastases was 14 months compared to the 11.2 months registered among the standard therapeutic arm. And researchers stopped the trial so they could extend treatment to the placebo arm.

Robin Davison, a biotech analyst at Edison, told Reuters that the data amounted to "splendid news. There's almost no doubt that the product will now be approved. There's a very large increase of survival in the context of this particular cancer."

Prostate cancer treatments has been a hot field, with Dendreon leading the pack with Provenge. J&J followed up with an approval for Zytiga (abiraterone) and Medivation has a closely watched program for MDV3100. Analysts have come up with a wide range of projected sales forecast for Bayer's new drug, with estimates ranging from €500 million to more than €1.2 billion for all indications.

Algeta Chief Executive Andrew Kay says that the program is ahead of schedule. "These results have come earlier than we thought," he told the Wall Street Journal. "We thought we'd file in the second half of 2012. I think filing will still be in 2012... we will do every thing we can to accelerate things."

"Around 90 percent of men with advanced prostate cancer have bone metastases, which are the main cause of disability and death in this disease," said Dr. Chris Parker, the principal investigator. "Advanced prostate cancer has a poor prognosis and treatment options are limited. Based on the observed survival benefit and its safety profile, Alpharadin may become an important treatment for patients with bone metastases from advanced prostate cancer."

- here's the Bayer release
- read the story from the Wall Street Journal
- see the Reuters story

ALSO: In other cancer news Sanofi says that Zaltrap, (aflibercept, which is partnered with Regeneron) significantly improved survival in previously treated metastatic colorectal cancer. Sanofi's Debasish Roychowdhury says that Sanofi will file for approval in the second half of this year. Release