OncoGenex Drug Helps Prostate Cancer Patients Live Longer in Small Study

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of killing cancer cells. OncoGenex negotiated for a license from Carlsbad, CA-based Isis Pharmaceuticals to develop an antisense drug that would provide specific strands of RNA that would shut down production of clusterin. The drug is given in a 2-hour intravenous infusion once a week.

There’s sure to be plenty of parsing through this data set this weekend, as people dive deep into the statistics to see if the effect is real. One of the key stats people will look at is the hazard ratio of patients who got OGX-011, which essentially says that patients had a 39 percent lower risk of death during the 32-month study than if they got the chemotherapy alone. This finding is stronger than Dendreon’s hazard ratio from its most recent trial, which suggested a 22.5 percent lower risk of death for patients taking Provenge.

Of course, the Dendreon trial was from 512 men, and is a more rigorous kind of trial that can be the basis of an FDA approval. OncoGenex is planning to run a pair of pivotal clinical trials enrolling a combined 1,100 patients, but it will need help from a bigger partner, or will have to tap the capital markets to get enough money to pay for them, Cormack says. As it stands now, OncoGenex has enough cash to run until February. So Cormack, as you might imagine, has been a pretty busy guy trying to get all the support needed to take this drug to the next level.

“I may well fall over,” Cormack said, as I caught him on his cell phone during a layover in the Denver airport before the meeting. “I don’t think I’ve run so fast in my life. It’s going at sprint pace, and it feels like I’ve been doing it at that pace for a full marathon.”

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