News on Wellness

GlaxoSmithKline Shutters Lung Cancer Vaccine Study on Latest Mage-A3 Setback


MAGE –A3 a cancer vaccine of GlaxoSmithKline, a high profile study which was in the Phase III has been red flagged by the investigators as per the company’s Head of Immunotherapeutics department. However, the company is making its last effort to see if the vaccine could help sub-population of patients before the effort is completely stopped.


This cancer vaccine, which was for non- small cell lung cancer had hit two primary endpoints and the spokesperson informed that they could not find a particular genetically defined group, which responded to the vaccine. He further added that before it is halted, one last effort is made as the investigators are still sorting through the subpopulation data for melanoma in the late stage which is another first primary end point of the trial. This end point should be reached by 2015 as per the analysts. However, the reach or demand for this would be less as in comparison to lung cancer, melanoma market is small.

As per the New York Times, MAGE- A3 a high-risk and high reward drug, which had raised expectations in the market has flamed out. Darapladib a heart drug is also in the same group of which failed the 1st trial in phase III.  However, the company has funded well and is waiting for the final results before halting the trials and research. The failure of this program has seen the stock prices drop in Agenus, the company which provided the adjuvant for MAGE-A3.

Reports said that other pharmaceutical companies Bristol- Myers, Merck and Roche has made outstanding progress in their drugs which will enhance the immune system to recognise and destroy the cancer cells while MAGE-A3 completely failed to show any response at all.

As per Mr.Vincent Brichard, this failure is a disappointing one and the company is hoping that the data they have generated in these trials will help them understand immunotherapeutics better so that they can develop new drugs and therapies. However, the report shows that GlaxoSmithKline has been left out of the race when it comes to immuno-oncology, as it is dominated by other pharmaceutical companies. In spite of getting a number of approvals on new drugs, the company is yet to make a break when it comes to immuno-oncology in the market.

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