GTx shares eviscerated after muscle drug flops in PhIII cancer studies

Shares of Memphis-based GTx ($GTXI) were eviscerated this morning after the biotech reported that a pair of Phase III studies of a muscle drug for cancer patients had failed.

The biotech and lead investigator both tried to rally support for the results, claiming that despite enobosarm's inability to achieve the primary endpoints for improvements in lean body mass (muscle) and physical function, there were clear signs that the drug was strengthening patients. The idea behind this study was that stronger patients suffering from non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) would live longer. Investors, though, weren't in any mood to accept the company's bullish interpretation of failure. GTx's share price immediately plunged close to 70%.

GTx, though, isn't throwing in the towel.

"While we are disappointed that both studies did not meet the pre-specified responder analyses, we are encouraged by the unambiguous effect of enobosarm on muscle and we are confident that it will translate to clinical benefit and potentially increase survival in patients with non-small cell lung cancer," said GTx CEO Mitchell Steiner in a statement. "We look forward to sharing our clinical data from these and previous trials with FDA and European authorities to discuss the path forward."

The company recruited about 325 patients with stage III or IV NSCLC and randomized two groups for oral daily doses of placebo or enobosarm 3 mg at the time they began first-line standard platinum doublet chemotherapy.

- here's the press release