BioSante shares surge as cancer vax performs in small study

Shares of BioSante Pharmaceuticals surged this morning in pre-market trading after the developer said that a 19-patient study demonstrated the promise of its GVAX leukemia vaccine to mop up the stubbornly lingering cancer cells of CML patients taking Gleevec.

Researchers said that the 19 patients selected for the study had measurable levels of cancer cells even though they had been on Gleevec for at least a year. After a median of 17 months, 13 of the patients saw their number of cancer cells decline and seven emerged with undetectable levels. The study was financed by the NCI and handled by scientists at Johns Hopkins.

Despite the small size of the trial, lead investigator Hyam Levitsky says it demonstrates a promising potential treatment tactic: using cancer vaccines to go in after powerful cancer therapies are used to help eradicate any remaining cancer cells.

BioSante announced just two days ago that it had raised $17.5 million through a sale of 10.4 million shares to Great Point Partners LLC and Deerfield Management Company. The shares were sold for $1.73 each. Most of that money is earmarked for LibiGel, a treatment for female sexual dysfunction. Its shares were up 15 percent by mid-morning.

- check out the BioSante's release
- here's the Reuters story