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On the 12 March Aeterna Zentaris announced the discontinuation of their Phase III myeloma study of perifosine subsequent to a recommendation by the Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB).

According to the DSMB, the pre-planned interim analysis of efficacy and safety indicates that the study may not reach the significant difference in progression free survival, the primary endpoint.

Perifosine is an oral anticancer agent that targets the Akt pathway, which affects tumour cell growth and survival.

The Phase III study was designed to compare the efficacy and safety profile of perifosine against placebo in combination with bortezomib (Velcade®) and dexamethasone in patients with relapsed or relapsed/refractory myeloma.

Dr Sarper Diler, chairman of MPE said, “This is very disappointing news but it also highlights the difficulty in developing new drugs for cancer. Only about one third of drugs that get to Phase II studies make it to market. However, there are several other dugs in the myeloma pipeline so we should be hopefully there will be several new drugs for myeloma in the years ahead.’’

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