Shares in Incyte fell over 21% (Nasdaq) as trading started, wiping over $4bn from the company’s market capitalization. The plunge reflects negative results announced by the group’s management before Wall Street opened–specifically, from the Phase II ECHO-301/KEYNOTE-252 clinical trial, assessing the investigational therapy epacadostat (IDO inhibitor) in combination with Merck & Co.’s Keytruda (PD1-antagonist) and conducted on patients with metastatic melanoma.
The results have demonstrated that the combo does not increase patients’ life expectancy as compared to Keytruda alone. Moreover, the result is a defeat for researchers claiming that combining therapies increases chances of cure. Importantly, PD-1 antagonists such as Keytruda and BMS’ Opdivo have shown efficacy only in 20-30% of cases. The rest of patients apparently has not responded to this kind of drugs, whereas researchers from the two companies expected to increase the response rate by combining the two drugs.