The Seattle biotech will permanently stop the “Rocket” trial of JCAR015 to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia in adults, three months after it was put on hold following patient deaths.
Juno Therapeutics is shutting down the clinical trial of one of its cancer drugs, three months after it was put on hold after patient deaths.
The Seattle biotech will permanently stop the “Rocket” trial of JCAR015 to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in adults.
“We have decided not to move forward … at this time, even though it generated important learnings for us and the immunotherapy field,” CEO Hans Bishop said in a statement. “We remain committed to developing better treatments for patients battling ALL.”
The trial was put on hold two times during 2016 because of patient deaths. First, it was suspended in July after two deaths, then restarted after the company attributed them primarily to an additional drug added to the treatment. Juno removed the drug fludarabine from the treatment and continued with the trial.
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It was halted again in November when two more patients died from cerebral edema, or swelling in the brain.
A fifth patient died earlier in 2016 from cerebral edema. Juno has said it couldn’t confirm that death was related to the treatment. The trial was not put on hold at that time.
Juno investigated the deaths and found multiple factors that could have increased the risk for patients, including their own treatment history and the treatment that patients received at the beginning of the trial.
The company said it will start a different trial to treat adult ALL in 2018 that is more similar to its JCAR017 trial. That trial tests pediatric ALL and has been proceeding well.
Juno also announced its fourth-quarter financial results Wednesday, reporting a loss of $52.8 million on revenue of $21.2 million. Revenue is up more than 400 percent from the same period last year.
Juno’s stock dropped $1.27, or 5.3 percent, to $25.31 in after-hours trading after the news was announced Wednesday.