Seattle Genetics shares tank after researchers halt cancer trial

Shares of Seattle Genetics (SGEN) skidded down 20 percent this morning after the developer announced that it is shelving a Phase IIb trial for its experimental lymphoma drug after a group of independent data monitors concluded that the trial was poised to fail.

Researchers were only halfway through recruiting patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma for the trial of dacetuzumab, or SGN-40. Seattle Genetics was testing the therapy in combination with Genentech's Rituxan and chemotherapy. The control arm was provided only the Rituxan-chemotherapy combo. Genentech had teamed up with Seattle Genetics on the program two years ago. And Seattle Genetics says it will continue four ongoing Phase Ib studies of dacetuzumab for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma.

"We are disappointed that the interim analysis of the phase IIb clinical trial resulted in discontinuation of the study, especially given the unmet medical need for DLBCL patients," said Clay B. Siegall, Ph.D., the CEO of Seattle Genetics. "In collaboration with Genentech, we will conduct a detailed analysis of data from the SeaGen Mariner trial."

- here's the Seattle Genetics release