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TroVax® is Oxford BioMedica’s leading cancer immunotherapy product, which was developed in collaboration with Sanofi-Aventis.

TROVAX Trial deaths

Oxford BioMedica, the UK biotechnology company, said that a key trial of the drug it is developing with French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi-Aventis failed to meet its cancer survival target. The independent Drug Safety Monitoring Board ruled that more doses of Oxford's cancer vaccination drug TroVax should not be administered to kidney cancer patients after 190 patients out of 733 in a trial died. Shares in the company plunged by 57 per cent to 8p. The company has an agreement with Sanofi-Aventis, worth up to €518 million (£418 million), to develop the drug for patients with colorectal and prostate cancer. It is unclear whether the trial results in kidney cancer will delay Sanofi’s plans. Trials were due to start this year. Oxford BioMedica told The Times it had informed Sanofi of the data yesterday, but had yet to reach an agreement on how to proceed with the drug. The kidney cancer trial will continue, although patients will not receive any more doses of TroVax. They will be monitored to see if the drug improves survival rates. TroVax is used on patients who have received treatment for cancer. It works by stimulating the body’s immune response to a specific antigen found on many cancer tumours. Nick Woolf, senior vice-president of Oxford BioMedica, said: “People are writing the drug off entirely but we feel that’s wrong. We believe there’s still value in TroVax in other cancer types.” Paul Cudden, biotechnology analyst at KBC Peel Hunt, said: “The value in TroVax now rests on whether Sanofi-Aventis decides to continue with the colorectal study. We believe it is more likely to wait until full results are published, which could be from mid 2009.”


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