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Clavis Falls After Ending Development of Cancer Drug

Clavis Pharma ASA fell the most in six years after the Norwegian company ended development of an experimental treatment for pancreatic cancer. Partner Clovis Oncology Inc. plunged as much as 42 percent.

Clavis plunged 88 percent to close at 8 kroner, the largest drop since its initial public offering in July 2006, cutting the company’s market value to 270 million kroner ($47 million). Clovis declined 35 percent to $13.93 at 11:31 a.m. New York time, after falling to $12.45 in its biggest intraday drop since the shares began trading in November 2011.

The LEAP trial, run by Boulder, Colorado-based Clovis, showed that there was no difference in overall survival between patients taking the drug known as CP-4126 when compared against those taking chemotherapy medicine gemcitabine. All development work with CP-4126 across all indications is now suspended, Clavis said.

The results “are surprising and disappointing given the evidence we have seen from previous studies reported in the literature,” Chief Executive Officer Olav Helleboe said in a statement. “Meanwhile, we continue to believe in the potential of elacytarabine, our lead product, to become an effective new treatment option for acute myeloid leukemia.”

Results from the late-stage “Clavela” trial on elacytarabine will be released in the first quarter of next year, Clavis said.

“So far, the company’s technology has not delivered,” said Carsten Loenborg Madsen, an analyst at Carnegie Investment Bank in Copenhagen. “Metastatic pancreatic cancer has always been one of the most difficult cancers to treat. We will have to wait and see the results from the Clavela trial.”

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