Tocagen shares collapse as investigators read last rites for PhIII brain cancer study

Two years after going public on the promise of a new approach to fight recurrent brain cancer, Tocagen has hit the wall.

The biotech bluntly reported the failure of their pivotal Phase III study of a 2-part drug — Toca 511 & Toca FC —  for high-grade glioma. Part 1 uses a vector to attack cancer cells in the brain and deliver a gene for an enzyme, while part 2 is a prodrug — 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC) — that converts into the anti-cancer therapy 5-FU.

It didn’t work. 

Researchers at the San Diego-based biotech reported that they hit a hazard ratio of 1.06, reflecting an increased risk to patients, with a disastrous p-value of 0.6154. The company says it will now thoroughly analyze the data, but investors weren’t waiting around. The stock

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