Threshold shares plunge on cancer trial failure

Shares of Threshold Pharmaceuticals plunged 60 percent after the Redwood City, CA-based biotech announced that its cancer therapy glufosfamide had failed a Phase III trial for metastatic pancreatic cancer. The overall survival rate for patients in the glufosfamide arm of the trial was 18 percent higher than the group getting "best supportive care" for the disease, but that rate wasn't high enough to achieve the statistical significance outlined in the study. Threshold, though, says it will continue to develop the therapy, which is also in a mid-stage trial for patients who have not been treated with chemotherapy. Threshold executives say they have enough money to sustain the company through the middle of next year.

"While there was a trend toward efficacy with glufosfamide, unfortunately the trial did not meet its efficacy endpoint," said CEO Barry Selick, Ph.D., "Based upon the activity seen in this, and previous studies, we remain committed to our ongoing trials with glufosfamide. Furthermore, we will continue to develop 2-deoxyglucose as well as our pre-clinical candidate HAP-302."

- check out the release on the trial
- here's the AP report on the trial failure