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OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (OGXI - Snapshot Report) recently announced that it is looking to move its oncology candidate, OGX-427, into a phase II study (Cedar: n~140). The study will evaluate OGX-427 as a first-line therapy in patients suffering from advanced squamous cell lung cancer.

The investigator-sponsored, randomized, open label phase II study will investigate whether progression-free survival (PFS) outcomes can be improved by adding OGX-427 to Eli Lilly & Company’s (LLY - Analyst Report) Gemzar and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company’s (BMY - Analyst Report) Paraplatin.

In the Cedar study, patients will be randomized to receive either OGX-427 plus Gemzar and Paraplatin therapy, or Gemzar and Paraplatin therapy alone.

Cedar is the second randomized phase II study being conducted with OGX-427 in advanced lung cancer.

Cedar is however the seventh phase II study being conducted with OGX-427 after Borealis-1, Borealis-2, Pacific, Spruce, OGX-427-PR01 and Rainier.

The Borealis-1 study is designed to evaluate the survival benefit, safety and tolerability of combining OGX-427 with gemcitabine and cisplatin in the first-line treatment of patients with advanced bladder cancer. OncoGenex expects to complete patient enrolment in the second half of 2013.

The Borealis-2 study is being conducted in patients suffering from advanced or metastatic bladder cancer whose disease has progressed following initial platinum-based chemotherapy treatment.

The Pacific study is evaluating the benefit of OGX-427 plus Zytiga in patients with castrate- resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). It is currently enrolling patients.

The Spruce study is being conducted for the treatment of previously untreated advanced non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer patients. OncoGenex expects to start patient enrolment later in 2013.

OGX-427-PR01 is evaluating the benefit of OGX-427 plus prednisone. in CRPC patients. Rainier is designed to evaluate the survival benefit of adding OGX-427 to Abraxane plus Gemzar in previously untreated metastatic pancreatic cancer patients. Patient enrollment is expected to begin in mid-2013.

OncoGenex carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Currently, Santarus, Inc. looks more attractive with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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