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Why Celsion Shares Were Eviscerated

Friday - 2/1/2013, 3:25am  ET

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of biotech company Celsion were slaughtered, losing as much as 82%, after late-stage data on its liver cancer treatment ThermoDox failed to meet its primary endpoint.

So what: Celsion's late-stage trial, known as HEAT, was designed with an endpoint of showing a 33% improvement in progression-free survival. Ultimately, the control arm performed 20% better than expected, while ThermoDox actually performed worse than the control arm ... ouch! ThermoDox, which uses a liposome to transport a chemotherapy agent to the site of a tumor, is currently also being tested in mid-stage trials for breast cancer.

Now what: It would be one thing if ThermoDox just missed the PFS target, or if it had a pipeline full of other candidates. Unfortunately, Celsion was mortgaging the house that ThermoDox would be its white knight, and that didn't turn out to be the case. Given the awful results today, I'm not very hopeful that its mid-stage breast cancer trials will be effective, and would suggest steering clear of Celsion until further notice.

Craving more input? Start by adding Celsion to your free and personalized Watchlist so you can keep up on the latest news with the company.

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