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OncoMed Progresses with Oncology Candidate

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OncoMed Pharmaceuticals Inc. (OMED) initiated its third phase Ib study on its oncology candidate, vantictumab (OMP-18R5). OncoMed shares gained 7.0% on Dec 4 to end the day’s trading at $29.65. The stock also touched a 52-week high of $32.39 during the trading session.

The phase Ib study will evaluate vantictumab in combination with Celgene Corp’s (CELG) Abraxane (nab-paclitaxel) and Eli Lilly and Co’s (LLY) Gemzar (gemcitabine) in patients suffering from stage IV pancreatic cancer.

The primary objective of the study is to determine a phase II dose for the above combination. OncoMed will further evaluate the pharmacokinetics of vantictumab along with the pharmacodynamics and efficacy of the combination.

OncoMed’s first phase Ib study, initiated earlier this year, is evaluating vantictumab in combination with Taxotere (docetaxel) in patients suffering from non-small cell lung cancer. The second study is evaluating the candidate in combination with Taxol (paclitaxel) in Her2-negative breast cancer patients. Interim results from these studies revealed that vantictumab was generally well tolerated.

All three phase Ib studies on vantictumab are being conducted under OncoMed’s collaboration with Bayer (BAYRY).

We remind investors that OncoMed’s stock price jumped approximately 98% earlier in the weekfollowing its deal with biopharma major Celgene for jointly developing and subsequently commercializing up to six candidates of the former’s anti-cancer stem cell pipeline. As per the terms of the deal, Celgene will make an upfront payment of $155 million to OncoMed.

Moreover, Celgene will make an investment of $22.25 million in OncoMed's common stock at $15.13 per share. OncoMed is also eligible to receive significant milestone, option and other payments as a result of the deal. This is expected to boost OncoMed’s balance sheet substantially.

OncoMed currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better ranked stocks include Bayer, which carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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