Mologen Drug Slows Colorectal Cancer in Mid-Stage Trial

Mologen AG said an experimental drug slowed the spread of colorectal cancer more than placebo in a mid-stage clinical trial. The shares rose the most in more than six years.

The drug, MGN1703, helped patients survive twice as long without the disease worsening than those who received a placebo, the Berlin-based company said in a statement today.

Mologen will consult with regulators in the U.S. and the European Union on steps needed for approval, the company said. It expects to reach a licensing deal for the drug within a year, Peter Huebner, a spokesman, said by telephone. MGN1703 activates the immune system to fight cancer cells and tumor-associated antigens released by the cells, the company said.

“These excellent results have even surpassed our own expectations,” Chief Executive Officer Matthias Schroff said in the statement. “They confirm the enormous potential of immunotherapeutic concepts for the treatment of cancer.”

The shares rose 20 percent, the most since March 2006, to 11.40 euros in Frankfurt.

In the so-called Impact study, patients whose cancer had spread were given MGN1703 as a maintenance therapy or placebo after standard first-line treatment, the company said. The risk of tumor progression was less than half for those treated with the drug compared to the placebo group. Today’s statement is an initial assessment of data from the trial, Mologen said.

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