Trials Of Agenus Inc (NASDAQ:AGEN) Cancer Vaccine Ends In Absolute Failure

Agenus Inc (NASDAQ:AGEN) has revealed that trials for a brain tumor vaccine have been halted after a lack of positive results. The announcement was contained in a federal filing that was made on Tuesday evening. No additional details were offered and neither was a press release issued by the Lexington-based company besides the report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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In an analysis done in the course of the second phase of the trial, it was observed that patients who took Avastin in combination with the Prophage vaccine did not enjoy a better survival rate than those who took Avastin only. Avastin is manufactured by Genentech.

Trial took several years

The trial begun in 2013 and had from the start set out to recruit patients numbering 165. But even though the trial showed no improvement in the condition of the patients, it was safe and did not affect the patients negatively. It has, however, provided the company with new insights on what it needs to do as it seeks a new approach to fight cancer.

The revelation of failure of the vaccines comes in the wake of an announcement by Agenus that the terms had been changed in its collaboration arrangement with Incyte Corporation (NASDAQ:INCY). This tweaking of the deal now gives Agenus to cash totaling $80 million. Agenus will also be entitled to royalties if and when the product starts being sold.

Immuno-oncology drugs and treatments

In the new arrangement, Agenus has handed over the responsibility to develop and commercialize some immune-oncology (I-O) drugs. These drugs are mainly used to boost the immune system of a body with a view to enhancing its ability and capacity to fight certain cancers.

The new partnership deal with Incyte had preceded another collaboration agreement involving a Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)-developed cancer drug, Keytruda. In this deal, the National Cancer Institute and Agenus were to collaborate in the second phase of a trial involving Prophage and Keytruda. The latter is used to treat patients who have just been diagnosed with brain tumors.

In Wednesday’s trading session, shares of Agenus Inc fell sharply by 16.30% to close the day at $3.80.

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