Why Onconova Therapeutics Inc. Shares Imploded

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Onconova Therapeutics (NASDAQ: ONTX  ) , a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing therapies to treat cancer, nosedived as much as 44% after the company announced disappointing results from its phase 3 ONTIME trial of rigosertib in higher-risk myelodysplastic syndrome, or MDS, patients who had progressed or relapsed while using hypomethylating agents, or HMA.

So what: Onconova said in a press release issued after the bell last night that rigosertib did not meet the primary endpoint compared to the best supportive care, or BSC, control arm. Median overall survival in the Onconova intent-to-treat group was 8.2 months, compared to 5.8 months in the best supportive care arm. Because of an extremely high p-value (0.27), there's a strong possibility that chance rather than medical benefit from rigosertib was involved in these results, making this 2.4 month difference not statistically significant.

If there was a bit of sunshine on this cloudy day, it's that a post-hoc analysis showed that a smaller subset of patients who had not responded to HMAs demonstrated a median overall survival of 8.5 months versus 4.7 months in the BSC arm. These results were statistically significant with a low p-value and a hazard ratio of 0.67, implying a 33% reduction in death risk while taking rigosertib.

Now what: There's certainly not a lot of positives that can be taken from yesterday's phase 3 results. The saving grace here might be that post-hoc analysis which is unlikely to result in rigosertib being scrapped in its entirety for high-risk MDS. However, Onconova can kiss a larger indication for secondary treatment to MDS goodbye for higher-risk patients. There's still a chance rigosertib performs better in low-risk patients, for which midstage studies are ongoing, but I wouldn't hold your breath. The real concern here is that if rigosertib proves to be a wash, Onconova has only two other ongoing early stage clinical studies. The remainder of its pipeline is preclinical in nature, meaning the company could still have additional downside left in its share price.

Biotech investors understand this one simple fact: Big gains come to those companies that deliver revolutionary products. Could this company be next?
Let's face it, every investor wants to get in on revolutionary ideas before they hit it big. Like buying PC-maker Dell in the late 1980's, before the consumer computing boom. Or purchasing stock in e-commerce pioneer Amazon.com in late 1990's, when they were nothing more than an upstart online bookstore. The problem is, most investors don't understand the key to investing in hyper-growth markets. The real trick is to find a small-cap "pure-play", and then watch as it grows in EXPLOSIVE lock-step with it's industry. Our expert team of equity analysts has identified 1 stock that's poised to produce rocket-ship returns with the next $14.4 TRILLION industry. Click here to get the full story in this eye-opening report for free.


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (1)

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.

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: 2847171, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 12/21/2014 3:11:41 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...


Advertisement