Incyte shares jump on positive PhIII cancer data

Shares of Incyte ($INCY) got a boost after researchers unveiled late-stage data demonstrating that a significant number of patients with myelofibrosis, a blood cancer, experienced a reduction of a common side effect of the disease. Altogether, 42 percent of the cancer victims in the drug arm experienced a reduction of 35 percent or more in the swelling of their spleen, compared with only 1 percent in the placebo group. The data lays the groundwork for a new drug application for INCB18424, which has the potential to become the first drug specifically approved for the disease.

"In addition to meeting the efficacy endpoints in this controlled trial, the safety and tolerability profile suggests that INCB18424 could become the first widely available medication to relieve the debilitating symptoms in patients with myelofibrosis," said Richard Levy, M.D., executive vice president and chief drug development and medical officer at Incyte.

Investors were moved to bid up the company's share price by 5.4 percent. Results of COMFORT-II are expected early next year. Incyte and Novartis ($NVS) announced a collaboration and license agreement in November 2009 through which Incyte retained exclusive rights to develop and commercialize INCB18424 in the U.S., and Novartis received exclusive rights to develop and commercialize it for territories outside the U.S.

- here's the Incyte press release
- read the Bloomberg report