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Antigenics Pharmaceuticals plans for Phase III trial of its Melanoma vaccine

Antigenics Pharmaceuticals is to start its Phase III cancer vaccine trial against Melanoma which is a type of skin cancer. Oncophage is the new skin cancer vaccine developed by Antigenics.// The vaccine trial of Oncophage which was conducted in 322 patients failed to meet the required statistically significance results compared to prolongation in survival and the vaccine was not shown to have any better results compared to other cancer treatments.

But, earlier studies with Oncophage showed a group of patients with the least-advanced severity of melanoma in the trial lived 20.9 months on Oncophage compared to 12.8 months for those patients taking standard drugs, the company said. The difference had not yet reached statistical significance and the trial is continuing.

Antigenics is to start a Phase III study next year to test its vaccine on a more responsive group, patients with Stage IV M1a patients. Though, the trial is to cost the company more than $12 million the scientists of the company are confident over the results.

Needham & Co. analyst Mark Monane in a research note called the data "encouraging" but only "hypothesis-generating rather than hypothesis-confirming, that we believe that any intensive reading into the data at this stage may be premature."

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