Sometimes there is no useful information in that corporate media release

According to a media release issued by OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals earlier today, the Phase III SYNERGY trial of docetaxel + prednisone + custirsen vs. docetaxel + prednisone + a placebo will be “continuing as planned per the recommendation of the Independent Data Monitoring Committee (IDMC).”

This trial was designed to investigate whether the addition of custirsen (OGX-011) to docetaxel + prednisone in first-line chemotherapy for men with metastatic, castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) could extend overall survival compared to “standard” first-line chemotherapy with docetaxel + prednisone. (For more details, see the Clinical web site.) The trial is known to have enrolled about 1,023 men at 140 different clinical sites (mostly in North America and Europe).

According to the media release, SYNERGY completed patient enrollment in 2012 and final survival results are now expected to be announced by mid-2014.

Sometimes publicly traded biotech companies like OncoGenex that have no products on the market and only one or two key products in development are required (by the Securities and Exchange Commission) to issue a media release pretty much any time they have any new information at all (however trivial) about one of their products in development (in order to ensure that they do not hide negative data from their shareholders). This appears to be the situation here.

The only things we can really conclude from this media release are that: (a) there are no definitive data yet showing that the addition of custirsen offers a clear survival benefit and (b) there are no definitive data to suggest that any side effects of curstirsen have been so significant as to require the trial to be terminated. We’re just going to have to wait until some time next year to see if there is any real clinical benefit associated with the addition of curstirsen to docetaxel + prednisone for men with mCRPC.

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