Threshold shares spike on positive IIb data for pancreatic cancer drug

Threshold Pharmaceuticals ($THLD) put out the word this morning that its experimental therapy TH-302 delayed the progression of advanced, aggressive pancreatic cancer by two months in a Phase IIb study, a sufficient margin of improvement to trigger a 52% hike in its stock price as shares rocketed up in minutes.

Progression-free survival rates in the low- and high-dose arms of the Phase II achieved a median 5.6 months, a 63% improvement compared to a third arm which received the standard chemotherapy gemcitabine alone. The tumor response rate hit 22% in the drug-chemo combo arms, compared to 12% in the chemo group.

That's good news for Merck KGaA as well. The pharma giant is partnered on the therapy, which is now in Phase III. A total of 214 pancreatic cancer patients were randomized in the IIb trial. TH-302 is triggered by hypoxia,where low oxygen levels in solid tumors set the stage for the drug to begin its work. Several cancer studies testing the drug are now underway.  

"With the results of this trial, we are again very encouraged that TH-302 is conferring benefit to patients with aggressive and difficult to treat cancers," said Barry Selick, Ph.D., the CEO of Threshold. "We look forward to its ongoing development with our partner Merck KGaA in this and other indications."

- read the press release
- here's the story from TheStreet