Progen looks to M&A after late-stage failure

Australia's Progen says that it is focusing on M&A opportunities after deciding to shelve a Phase III study for its liver cancer therapy--PI-88. The decision to halt the trial led to a rout of its stock price, with shares sliding 52 percent on the news. Progen blamed slow recruitment, a slow approval process in Asia and the launch of a late-stage study of a rival therapy in its decision. It is now looking for a commercial partner willing to advance that program.

"As part of this process, Progen will announce in the next weeks the appointment of corporate advisers to assist with the identification of and initial discussion with potential acquisitions in Australia and the United States," the company said.

One analyst noted that with $76 million in cash, Progen could be an attractive partner for a drug developer with strong IP and little money.

- here's Progen's release
- read the story in The Age