Shares of NewLink Genetics (NLNK), a clinical-stage company focused on developing and commercializing immunotherapeutic products for the treatment of cancer, plunged in pre-market trading after a competitor exploring the same areas of cancer treatment reported a clinical trial that did not succeed in achieving its goal.

Incyte/Merck Combo Misses Mark

Incyte (INCY) and partner Merck (MRK) announced this morning that an external Data Monitoring Committee, or eDMC, review of the pivotal Phase 3 ECHO-301/KEYNOTE-252 study results evaluating Incyte’s epacadostat in combination with Merck’s Keytruda in patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma determined that the study did not meet the primary endpoint of improving progression-free survival in the overall population compared to Keytruda monotherapy.

Epacadostat belongs to a class of drugs called IDO inhibitors. NewLink’s Indoximod is an investigational, orally available small molecule targeting the IDO pathway.

Nektar Down Too

Shares of Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR), whose clinical programs include immuno-oncology and immunology are also sliding this morning. Adam Feuerstein of STAT has tweeted this morning: “$NKTR is the new $INCY. Anyone worried about that now?”

Price Action 

In pre-market trading, Nektar shares were down about 6%; Incyte down 21%; and NewLink  plunged about 37.5%.


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