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Incyte Falls 20% After Cancer Drug Fails Phase 3 Trial

Incyte Falls 20% After Cancer Drug Fails Phase 3 Trial

Incyte Corporation (NASDAQ: INCY), a biopharmaceutical company that focuses on developing medications for the treatment of cancer, announced Friday a disappointing update to a phase 3 trial.

What Happened

Incyte said its experimental therapy called epacadostat failed in a phase 3 trial called ECHO-301 to improve the efficacy of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK)'s Keytruda when the two therapies were combined to treat patients suffering from melanoma.

The purpose of the study was to demonstrate that Incyte's therapy, which blocks the enzyme IDO, could make existing cancer treatments like Keytruda more effective. Unfortunately, the study found that the combination of the two therapies failed to delay the growth of cancer in patients and those who received a placebo exhibited similar survival rates versus those who received the treatment.

Why It's Important

The disappointing results has "far-ranging ramifications" for Incyte and raise "serious doubts" about the future for IDO inhibitors, Stat News' Adam Feuerstein said. It also marks a "big setback" for patients suffering from melanoma.

What's Next

The disappointing trial could also "ripple across" the entire cancer immunotherapy market and overall biotech sector, Feuerstein said. Nevertheless, Incyte Chief Medical Officer Steven Stein said the company remains dedicated to "transforming the treatment of cancer and will continue to explore how IDO1 inhibition and other novel mechanisms can potentially improve outcomes for patients in need."

At time of publication, Incyte was trading down 22 percent at $64.70. Merck was down about 1.1 percent.

Related Links:

Piper Jaffray Loses Confidence In Insys Therapeutics, Downgrades Stock

Morgan Stanley: Epizyme Has 'Blockbuster' Cancer Drug In The Making


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