Data on Astex Candidate

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Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ASTX) recently presented data from the phase I portion (dose-escalation) of the SGI-110-01 study in patients with intermediate or high risk relapsed or refractory myelodysplastic syndromes (r/r MDS). The data was presented at the European Hematology Association (:EHA).

15 intermediate or high risk r/r MDS (including chronic myelomonocytic leukemia) patients were enrolled in the study – the patients had been treated earlier with either Vidaza (azacitidine) or Dacogen (decitabine). About 40% of the patients had undergone treatment with both therapies. Six of the 15 patients achieved an overall response rate of 40%.

SGI-110 is currently in a phase I/II trial for MDS and acute myeloid leukemia (:AML), and phase II trials for platinum resistant ovarian cancer and liver cancer. The phase II dose expansion study in patients who are treatment-naive to prior Vidaza or Dacogen therapy has so far enrolled 40 treatment naïve MDS patients. First data from phase II studies on platinum-resistant ovarian cancer and liver cancer is expected in 2014.

Astex is trying to develop a portfolio of cancer drugs, with candidates such as AT13387, SGI-110, AT7519, AT9283, and AT13148. Astex has started phase II studies with AT13387 in patients with refractory gastrointestinal stromal tumors (:GIST), castration resistant prostate cancer (:CPRC), and non-small cell lung cancer (:NSCLC). First data from phase II studies on CRPC and NSCLC is expected in 2014.

Astex carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Currently, companies like Santarus, Inc. (SNTS), Anika Therapeutics Inc. (ANIK) and Jazz Pharmaceuticals Public Limited Company (JAZZ) look well positioned with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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