Puma Biotechnology Soars on Breast Cancer Drug Results

Puma Biotechnology Inc. almost tripled in extended trading after the company said a clinical trial of its experimental drug blocked the return of breast cancer in women with a type of early-stage disease.

The drug, neratinib, improved disease-free survival by 33 percent compared with a placebo in a trial of 2,821 women with early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer, Los Angeles-based Puma said today in a statement. Disease-free survival refers to the interval a patient remains alive and free of signs of the illness. The company said it would apply for U.S. regulatory approval in the first half of 2015 based on the results.

“We are very pleased with the results,” Alan Auerbach, Puma’s chief executive officer, said in the statement. The company didn’t return a call seeking further comment.

Puma almost tripled to $169.48 in extended trading at 5:35 p.m. New York time after closing at $59.03. The company had declined 43 percent this year.

If the drug is approved, neratinib may be used in many early-stage breast cancer patients whose tumors are fueled by a growth promoting gene called HER2. These patients are already often treated with the Roche Holding AG’s Herceptin.

In the new trial, neratinib was used in women whose breast cancer had been removed surgically and then treated with Herceptin to prevent recurrence. After the Herceptin treatment was completed, some of the women got neratinib and some received a placebo.

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