Celldex shares rally (briefly) on positive PhII brain cancer data

Celldex Therapeutics ($CLDX) reports that a small, single-arm study of its experimental brain cancer vaccine scored a significantly higher overall survival rate than the historical numbers on file. Investigators for the biotech say patients taking rindopepimut (CDX-110) demonstrated a median OS rate of 24.6 months from diagnosis, significantly better than the 15.2 month historical average cited by the biotech.

Investigators selected patients for the study who expressed the EGFRvIII oncogene, which is linked to a particularly poor prognosis. CDX-110 had earned some significant interest from Pfizer ($PFE), which paid $50 million in upfront fees and an equity stake in 2008, with promises of $390 million more, to partner on the program. That pact ended last year, though, when Pfizer said its changing pipeline interests forced it to dump the program.

Celldex's shares have also been subject to the cancer vaccine blight triggered by soft sales of Dendreon's ($DNDN) Provenge. Its shares briefly spiked this morning but were trading up only 2% by mid-morning.

"The consistency of data from three separate studies, including a large multicenter trial, is very encouraging and clearly supports our plan to advance clinical development of rindopepimut with ACT IV, a pivotal, randomized, blinded international Phase III study," said Dr. Thomas Davis, CMO of Celldex Therapeutics.

- here's the press release