Hunt for the next big cancer vaccine fraught with peril

After Dendreon won a historic approval a week ago for Provenge, the world's first therapeutic cancer vaccine, a host of developers started to flag their own therapeutic vaccine programs. But in the glow of success and an impressive run-up in Dendreon shares, it could be easy to overlook the tough odds that face any developer trying to follow in the footsteps of Provenge.

Over at TheStreet, Adam Feuerstein is quick to highlight some of the failures that have occurred in the field. Cell Genesys, Favrille, CancerVax and Genitope all tried and fell far short of the mark.

So when BioSante announced at the beginning of this week that it was taking GVAX off the backburner, Feuerstein was quick to pounce. Back in 2008, when GVAX was at Cell Genesys, researchers had to shutter a late-stage study when patients in the GVAX/chemo group started dying at a faster rate than the patients receiving only chemo. A second trial was stopped due to futility.

"In the next weeks and months, investors are going to be enticed by drug companies crawling out of the woodwork with claims that they're working on the next Provenge," writes the biotech scribe. "That's an easy thing to say, much tougher to actually accomplish."

- here's the story from TheStreet