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April 14, 2009
Post updated below - DBL Dendreon is a company that's really been through it, as have their investors. Many will remember the upheaval back in 2007, when the company showed what they felt were impressive results for their autologous prostate cancer immunotherapy Provenge, got a favorable reception from the FDA's advisory panel, but were then hit with an "approvable" letter asking for more data. (Here are three posts on that: before, during, and after).
Well, the company is back with more data, in 512 patients. And initial reports are that the numbers look good. They're doing a conference call as I write, so we'll know more shortly, and I'll update this post as things become more clear.
Update: Hmmm. On the conference call, the company has declined to present any numbers, saying that it's bound by a blackout requirement for its presentation at the American Urological Association on April 28th. Their main statement seems to have been that the drug met its primary endpoint, reducing the risk of death compared to a placebo. There are a lot of other questions about Provenge - whether it slows the progression of prostate cancer or not, for example - but survival is presumably the bottom line. That was the main focus of the whole trial (as opposed to the cancer-progression endpoint of their smaller, earlier one).
So we'll see at the end of the month how impressive the statistics look. The market's reacting well to the news, although you could argue that the stock has pulled back a bit. It closed yesterday at 7 and change, traded over 21 during the morning, and is around 17 now. (Of course, some of that pullback could be from people giddily selling their shares on the news, just as some of the spike could well have been some people rather less giddily covering their short positions).
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