Ariad Pharmaceuticals, the Cambridge, MA-based developer of cancer drugs, said today that its lead experimental drug is likely to succeed in an ongoing mid-stage trial of the drug as a treatment for breast cancer. Shares of Ariad (NASDAQ: ARIA) shot up 29 percent, to $3.15 after the news crossed the wire.
The Ariad drug, ridaforolimus, was given in combination with the standard trastuzumab (Herceptin) treatment to women with an overactive form of the Her-2 gene whose cancer had developed resistance to trastuzumab alone. The trial needed to show tumor shrinkage for at least five patients (15 percent of the 33 patients planned to be included in the study) and it has reached that threshold after the first 28 patients have enrolled, Ariad said. The company didn’t describe the safety data obtained in the study, but said no new or unexpected safety concerns were observed. Abstracts describing more complete data have been submitted to major medical meetings later in the year.