Telik Falls Short

Another day, another implosion of a development-stage biopharma stock after disappointing clinical trial results. Yesterday's leader on the stock market decliner's board was drug developer Telik (Nasdaq: TELK  ) after it announced that its lead cancer-fighting compound, Telcyta, failed three phase 3 clinical trials.

Telcyta has been in development as a treatment for various forms of cancer. Shares of Telik hit a high of nearly $30 a share back in April 2004, after the company reported preclinical results for Telcyta that showed the drug might inhibit cancer-cell growth. Then later in the year, Telik reported multiple phase 2 trial results of Telcyta as a treatment for ovarian and lung cancer. These results showed that patients taking the drug in combination with other cancer treatments had a 46% objective response rate for ovarian cancer and a 27% rate for lung cancer.

Based on these positive trial results, Telik enrolled Telcyta in five phase 3 trials for non-small-cell lung and ovarian cancer. Yesterday, results from the first three of these clinical trials came back, and none of them were positive. Telcyta failed to show a survival benefit in its lung-cancer trial, and the two ovarian-cancer trials had "inconsistencies" and "compromised" results because of supposedly bad data -- although Telik reported preliminary results that one trial failed its primary endpoint of improving survival.

I'm not sure what's worse: the confirmed failed clinical trial, or the fact that two of the trials had data that was too dirty to achieve final results, with one of the trials potentially having 25% of patients improperly cared for, according to Telik. Management estimated that it would take at least a couple of weeks to figure out the inconsistencies seen between these trial results and previous trials.

Shares of Telik were down more than 70% yesterday, and with one more phase 3 lung-cancer trial and another ovarian-cancer trial enrolling patients, it's tough to see how Telik is going to avoid whatever the problems and errors were that caused these trials to go bad. Unless it gets a better understanding of what went wrong in all these clinical trials, Telik might be a good company for investors to avoid.

Foolanthropy is celebrating its 10th year! To learn more about our five Foolish charities or to make a donation, visit

Fool contributorBrian Lawlerdoes not own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Fool has adisclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (7)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 519030, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/21/2016 12:55:19 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,111.20 -51.15 -0.28%
S&P 500 2,138.00 -3.34 -0.16%
NASD 5,249.08 7.25 0.14%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/21/2016 12:38 PM
MBVX $3.90 Down +0.00 +0.00%