Regeneron, Sanofi pull plug on late-stage cancer trial

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) and Sanofi-Aventis (SNY) have agreed to pull the plug on a Phase III trial of their experimental cancer therapy aflibercept after an independent monitoring committee concluded that there was little chance the drug would demonstrate a significant increase in the survival rate of patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer. The move late Friday came just months after Sanofi included aflibercept among its most promising drug candidates, keeping it in its pipeline as it shed other programs that hadn't lived up to its expectations.

In the Phase III trial researchers matched aflibercept and the standard therapy gemcitabine as a first-line therapy in one group while another took gemcitabine and a placebo. Metastatic pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal types of cancer and the two companies say they haven't abandoned the drug.

"We remain committed to the other ongoing Phase III trials of aflibercept in colorectal cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and hormone-refractory metastatic prostate cancer," says Sanofi Senior Vice President Marc Cluzel. Shares of Tarrytown, NY-based Regeneron slipped about five percent on the news.

- check out the report from Reuters