German pharmaceutical company Merck KGaA announced in a press release that its Phase 3 trial of an experimental cancer vaccine, formerly known as Stimuvax, has failed to meet its primary endpoints of the trial. Stimuvax, which Merck KGaA licensed from biotech company Oncothyreon (NASDAQ: ONTY ) , did not show a statistically significant improvement in overall survival.
While the trials showed some progress, such as no new safety concerns arising, Merck said in the release that it will discuss the results with regulators and experts in the near future. The company plans to continue a clinical study of the drug in Asia, after the discussions.
Deutsche Bank analyst Holger Blum wasn't so optimistic on the drug, saying, "Despite potential positive effects in subgroups, we consider the drug dead."
Shares of Oncothyreon fell sharply on the day, dropping more than 5%. Merck had a slightly better day, receiving a long-term credit rating upgrade from Moody's, despite the failure of the clinical trial.