Amgen shares jump on good news from melanoma drug study
Shares of Thousand Oaks-based Amgen rose in light trading on March 20 after the company announced favorable results from a drug that treats advanced melanoma.
The drug, dubbed T-VEC, uses a virus to infiltrate tumors and shrink them. It achieved positive results in a large number of patients receiving standard drug therapies. According to the study Amgen cited, some 16 percent of patients achieved positive results versus just 2 percent using conventional therapies.
The Associated Press said the results for T-VEC show that similar vaccines other companies are developing could also be effective in treating advanced melanoma. Amgen, quoting earlier research, said that although melanoma accounts for a small fraction of all skin cancers, it does account for 75 percent of all skin cancer deaths.
Shares of Amgen rose $1.50 or slightly less than 2 percent to $94 at the close of business on March 20. T-VEC, which is injected directly into the tumors just below the skin at two-week intervals, causes direct destruction of tumors while also “stimulating a systemic anti-tumor response,” Amgen said.
About 400 patients took part in the study, which involved 18 months of treatments. The treatments continue for patients getting positive results, Amgen said.