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Novogen Loses Half Its Value After Cancer Study Fails

Novogen Ltd., the Australian biotechnology company developing drugs from plant compounds, lost half its market value after saying an experimental ovarian cancer treatment failed in final-stage patient studies.

Novogen fell 53 percent to close at a record low of 18.5 Australian cents in Sydney trading. It was the biggest decline since the company went public almost 16 years ago. Tests on phenoxodiol in women with recurrent ovarian cancer showed no statistically significant improvement in patient survival, Sydney-based Novogen said in a statement today.

Research based on similar plant compounds will continue, Daniel P. Gold, chief executive officer of Novogen’s Marshall Edwards Inc. unit, said in the statement. The company is investigating triphendiol, which it says is a potentially more potent, second-generation relative of phenoxodiol that may be effective against ovarian cancer.

“We remain excited with the progress of another product candidate in our pipeline, NV-128, a novel isoflavone analogue with a mode of action distinct from both phenoxodiol and triphendiol,” Gold said.

Novogen’s decline today brings the stock’s loss for the year to 69 percent and values the company at A$18.9 million ($16 million). Almost 1.6 million shares were traded, about 42 times the daily average in the 12 months until yesterday.

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