Taiwan's OBI Pharma fails to impress investors after ASCO presentation


Efforts to turn a tide of negative sentiment for Taipei-based OBI Pharma's breast cancer candidate OBI-822 appeared to have fallen short after an update on a failed Phase II/III study at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Chicago this week.

The Taipei Times said the company's shares fell sharply after the presentation which noted the while the candidate did not meet the primary efficacy endpoint, it did show improvement in progression-free survival in about half of the patients, as well as a secondary endpoint of overall survival toward statistical significance.

The presentation effort was aimed at reviving prospects for a potential Phase III trial even as prosecutors investigate insider trading charges related to share sales ahead of the failed primary endpoint announcement in February.

The probe has so far ensnared former Academia Sinica president, Wong Chi-huey--a world-renowned chemist who has been touted as a potential future Nobel Prize winner--who resigned after reports indicated his daughter sold 3 million shares before the results were released.

For OBI Pharma, its status as a leading firm among Taiwan's small but closely watched biotech industry is also on the line.

“Although the study shows that there is no significant link between globo H, OBI-822 is effective in encouraging the immune system to produce the desired cancer-fighting antibodies even among patients with low globo H presence. Therefore, the drug is effective,” the company told the Taipei Times.

The company's shares are down nearly 27% year to date and fell by more than NT$100 ($3.10) after the ASCO presentation to levels around NT$461.

- here's the story in the Taipei Times
- here's the release on the ASCO presentation