Poniard rebounds on picoplatin colon cancer data

AP News
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Posted: Nov 17, 2009 1:57 PM

A day after Poniard Pharmaceuticals Inc. said its drug candidate picoplatin failed to improve survival for patients with lung cancer, the company reported positive data on the drug as a treatment for colorectal cancer.

Poniard said current study data shows that a combination of picoplatin and chemotherapy works about as well as a standard chemotherapy regimen. The mid-stage trial compared the effects of the two therapies on survival rates, ability to stop the progress of the disease, and disease control.

Picoplatin is an experimental chemotherapy drug that is intended to work on patients whose tumors are resistant to platinum-based chemotherapy drugs.

The company is hoping to show that picoplatin is as effective as a regimen including the chemo drug oxaliplatin while causing less nerve damage. It said nerve damage for patients who took picoplatin occurred later in treatment and was less frequent and severe.

Poniard also said an early-stage safety trial shows that picoplatin does not increase the risk of arrhythmia. In afternoon trading, its shares climbed 48 cents, or 26.2 percent, to $2.31. About 19 million shares had changed hands as of 1 p.m.

On Monday, Poniard said picoplatin did not significantly improve survival for lung cancer patients in a late-stage trial. Its shares plunged tumbled 75.9 percent, or $5.75, on the day. A total of 37.5 million shares were traded.