AstraZeneca flunks Ph2 lung cancer trial with drug from Array BioPharma

Array BioPharma ($ARRY) delivered some bad news this morning about one of its experimental cancer drugs. AstraZeneca--which has licensed Array's the drug, selumetinib--came up short in in a mid-stage study involving certain lung cancer patients with KRAS gene mutations.

The 87-patient study showed that non-small cell lung cancer patients on selumetinib, a MEK inhibitor, didn't get a statistically significant survival benefit, the primarily goal of the trial, according to Array. The patients in the study were given either Array's drug in combination with chemo or a chemo alone. And the study that delivered lackluster efficacy data was also the first randomized combination trial with a MEK inhibitor to be completed, Array said.

There will be more data on the trial to come at a future medical meeting. AstraZeneca is also wrapping up a Phase II study of the drug against patients with melanomas that have a BRAF mutation. Those results should give further indications about how many types of tumors the firms can expect to attack with the drug, which has been investigated in more than 45 early- or mid-stage trials at various stages of completion.

Array has been under budget pressure amid searches for more big partners. The Boulder, CO-based company axed 70 jobs, or about 20% of its workforce, back in June to conserve cash. And the company's wish for further partnerships was granted in August, when the firm struck a deal with Genentech worth up to $713 million to develop the kinase inhibitor ARRY-575, seeking more potential combo treatments against cancers.

- here's the release