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Pharmacyclics slumps on disappointing study data

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Pharmacyclics Inc. dropped Monday after the company reported negative data for its experimental cancer drug ibrutinib.

Pharmacyclics does not have any products on the market and is developing ibrutinib through a large partnership with a division of Johnson & Johnson. The companies are studying the drug as a treatment for several types of lymphoma and leukemia. On Monday, Pharmacyclics said a small group of multiple myeloma patients did not experience tumor shrinkage after treatment with an initial dose of ibrutinib, although the tumor did stop disease progression for some patients.

Shares of Pharmacyclics dropped $5.41, or 9.4 percent, to $51.96 in morning trading. That marked a strong recover from a plunge of almost 19 percent earlier in the session.

The company said it will study higher doses and test the drug in combination with dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, as a treatment for multiple myeloma. Pharmacyclics does not plan to conduct further testing of low dose of ibrutinib by itself.

Multiple myeloma is a bone marrow cancer. Pharmacyclics and Janssen Biotech are running a late-stage study of ibrutinib as a treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, mantle cell lymphoma, and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

The Sunnyvale, Calif., company also reported its fiscal first-quarter results on Monday. Pharmacyclics received $100 million in payments from Janssen during the quarter and posted net income of $75.6 million, or $1.02 per share. A year ago, the company lost $14.5 million, or 21 cents per share. Revenue rose to $102.7 million from $37,000.

Analysts, on average, expected Pharmacyclics to report net income of 69 cents per share and $79.1 million in revenue, according to FactSet. The company's fiscal first quarter ended Sept. 30.

In addition to ibrutinib Pharmacyclics has three other drugs in clinical or preclinical development.

The company said it received another $50 million payment from Janssen in October after a fifth patient enrolled in a study of ibrutinib as a treatment for leukemia. Pharmacyclics has been paid $300 million as part of the collaboration and it could get another $675 million in development and regulatory milestone payments. It will share profits on any sales of ibrutinib.

Pharmacyclics stock has changed hands between $10.83 and $70.48 in the past 52 weeks, and has more than tripled since the start of the year.