Peregrine Pharmaceuticals shares plummet

Peregrine Pharmaceuticals drops sharply after halting study of potential lung cancer treatment

Associated Press

Shares of Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Inc. sank Thursday after the drug developer said it will stop studying a treatment combination involving its potential lung cancer drug bavituximab.

THE SPARK: The Tustin, Calif., company said a combination of bavituximab, carboplatin and a chemotherapy drug labeled paclitaxel did not produce a meaningful enough difference in overall survival in patients compared with carboplatin and paclitaxel alone. The company had just completed an analysis of data from a mid-stage study of the drug.

Peregrine said the combination involving bavituximab did produce an average overall survival of 14 months.

THE BIG PICTURE: Peregrine still plans to start a late-stage study by the end of the year of bavituximab combined with another chemotherapy drug, docetaxel. That combination will be delivered to patients with a form of lung cancer who have already tried another treatment.

Peregrine does not have any approved products, and bavituximab is its most advanced experimental drug. The company had more than $42 million in cash as of June 24. It said it has enough cash resources to fund operations for at least the next 12 months.

SHARE ACTION: Down nearly 25 percent, or 38 cents, to $1.17 in heavy trading Thursday morning, while broader indexes climbed about 1 percent. The stock closed Wednesday up 18 percent since the start of the year.

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