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Active Biotech Shares Plunge

Shares of Ipsen and partner Active Biotech plunged last week after Ipsen’s experimental prostate cancer drug Tasquinimod failed during a Phase III trial. Active’s shares dropped 60 percent and Ipsen’s went down by 10 percent.

 “The data at hand is unambiguous and cannot motivate further development of tasquinimod in this patient population,” said Tomas Leanderson, chief executive of Active Biotech, in a article.

“Efficacy results together with preliminary safety data do not support positive benefit risk balance in this population,” said the companies in a statement. “Therefore the companies have decided to discontinue all studies in prostate cancer. Full results will be presented at an upcoming scientific conference.”

Tasquinimod had shown promising results in earlier trials and analysts had begun including the drug’s success into business prediction models for the company, according to a article.

Maxim Jacobs, analyst at Edison Investment Research, says the results were unexpected, but that the drug may eventually be effective in treating multiple scelerosis.

“The failure of Tasquinimod in prostate cancer is certainly disappointing,” Jacobs says in the article. “Investors, though, shouldn’t forget that the results of the Phase III CONCERTO study of Laquinimod for multiple sclerosis is coming next year. As an oral medication for MS, even mild efficacy could lead to meaningful sales.”

The companies say they are working with regulators to move patients from the study to more appropriate therapies. They also plan to work with trial investigators, ethics committees and the relevant regulatory authorities to provide them with updated information in compliance with local regulations.