- OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals is trimming back after facing several setbacks in phase 3 trials of its lead cancer drug custirsen. The company on Friday announced it is laying off 27% of its workforce, or roughly 11 employees according to FierceBiotech.
- Custirsen has been in phase 3 trials for treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer therapy and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
- Final data from the prostrate cancer trial is due in the third quarter of 2016, while data from the NSCLC trial should come in the first half of 2017. Both trials are studying custirsen in combination with another drug.
OncoGenex has had its share of challenges recently. In December of last year, the company announced negative results from its prostate cancer trial of custirsen. Subpopulation analysis of patients showed no overall survival benefit associated with treatment compared to standard of care. The stock fell sharply on the news .
Co-development partner Teva bought out of its deal for $27 million back in April 2015 after a number of phase 3 failures for custirsen. The company moved forward, however, with its prostate-cancer study and with development of custirsen (in combination with docetaxel) for treatment of NSCLC.
Another OncoGenex drug, apatorsen, failed in a phase 2 lung cancer trial last month. However, there is an ongoing study of the apatorsen for treatment of bladder cancer.
OncoGenex had roughly $55.2 million in cash and assets at the end of 2015, which it plans to use to fund operations through the third quarter of 2017.