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OncoMed Cancer Candidate Fails Trial, Bayer Opts Out of Deal

Zacks Equity Research

It was a bad day for OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. OMED as it suffered two setbacks.

The company’s pipeline candidate demcizumab (anti-DLL4, OMP-21M18) failed to meet its primary endpoint of progression free survival in a phase II YOSEMITE study in first-line treatment of patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer. The candidate was being evaluated in combination with Celgene Corporation’s CELG drug Abraxane plus gemcitabine.

The other bad news that Oncomed faced was that Bayer Pharma -a subsidiary of Bayer Aktiengesellschaft BAYRY notified the former of its decision not to exercise its option to license the first-in-class Wnt pathway inhibitors vantictumab and ipafricept.

Shares of the company declined 37% on Monday in response to the negative news.  In-fact, OncoMed’s recent share price movement shows that the company has underperformed the Zacks classified Medical - Biomedical and Genetics industry year to date. The stock declined 33.5% as against the industry’s gain of 2.6% during the period.

Coming back to the release, the YOSEMITEstudy failed to show benefit over standard-of-care.  

The interim median overall survival for patients receiving either one or two truncated courses of demcizumab in combination with Abraxane plus gemcitabine was 13.2 months, and the median overall survival was not reached for the Abraxane, gemcitabine plus placebo arm.

Moving ahead, OncoMed will conduct additional analysis along with its partner Celgene), to understand these outcomes. Additionally, the company will discontinue any additional enrollment in its other ongoing demcizumab trials and conduct analyses of the data from those trials as planned.

After Bayer pulled out of the deal, Oncomed stated that it will retain worldwide development and commercialization rights to vantictumab, ipafricept and all other Wnt pathway biologics under the collaboration effective Jun 27. Vantictumab and ipafricept are selective inhibitors of the Wnt pathway.

The company is on the verge of completing two phase Ib combination clinical trials of vantictumab – one in HER2-negative breast cancer and another in advanced pancreatic cancer and two phase Ib combination clinical trials of ipafricept – one in ovarian cancer and the other in pancreatic cancer.

Per the deal with Bayer, OncoMed received over $90 million in upfront and milestone payments that have fully funded the development of vantictumab and ipafricept.

OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Price

OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Price | OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Quote

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

OncoMed currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Hold). Another favorable stock in the health care sector includes Heska Corp. HSKA carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here

Heska’s earnings estimates moved up from $1.53 to $1.65 for 2017 and from $1.90 to $2.01 for 2018, over the last 60 days. The company posted a positive earnings surprise in all of the last four quarters, with an average beat of 291.54%. Its share price increased 40.7% year to date.

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Bayer AG (BAYRY): Free Stock Analysis Report
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