In addition to the data for Imetelstat in hematologic malignancies, Geron has announced that it will be investigating the role of Imetelstat in solid tumors with short telomeres. Geron's decision to discontinue the development of Imetelstat in non-small cell lung cancer was based on an unplanned analysis that found that there was a modest (but not statistically significant) trend in progression-free survival that favored Imetelstat. While these data did not support a continued investment into Imetelstat for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer, Geron's review of the trial's clinical data did show that a sub-group of patients that had tumors with short telomeres experienced a meaningful and statistically significant increase in progression-free survival (existing, non-clinical data have shown that tumors with short telomeres are "more sensitive to telomerase inhibition than tumor cells with longer telomeres.") Geron is working on creating an assay to measure telomere length in tumor samples (which would be required for a clinical study of the role of Imetelstat in solid tumors with short telomeres), and plans on presenting detailed scientific data on this patient sub-group in 2013.
After several months of negative headlines, Geron has now reported solid clinical data for Imetelstat, and it would seem that the company is well positioned to build out its pipeline.