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Shares of OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (OMED - Snapshot Report) were positively impacted with the company presenting encouraging data on its oncology candidates, demcizumab and OMP-59R5, at the 2014 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium.

Initial data on demcizumab from an ongoing phase Ib study revealed that the candidate in combination with Celgene Corporation’s (CELG - Analyst Report) Abraxane and Eli Lilly and Company’s (LLY - Analyst Report) Gemzar (gemcitabine) was well tolerated as a first-line therapy in patients suffering from stage IV pancreatic cancer. Data also revealed that 50% of patients treated with the above combination showed partial responses, according to the response evaluation criteria in solid tumors (RECIST). Moreover, around 33% of patients had stable disease with an 83% clinical benefit rate.

Encouraged by the impressive results, OncoMed, which went public only in July last year, intends to evaluate the candidate as a first-line therapy in the advanced pancreatic cancer indication in the latter half of 2014. We note that demcizumab is part of OncoMed’s oncology deal with Celgene inked late last year. The deal pertains to the joint development and commercialization of up to six anti-cancer stem cell candidates from OncoMed's biologics pipeline.

OncoMed also presented encouraging initial data from the phase Ib portion of its ongoing ALPINE (Antibody therapy in first-Line Pancreatic cancer Investigating anti-Notch Efficacy and safety) study on another of its pipeline candidate OMP-59R5. The study is also evaluating OMP-59R5 in combination with Gemzar and Abraxane as a first-line therapy in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. OncoMed intends to evaluate the candidate in a phase II portion of the ALPINE study in the second quarter of 2014.  We believe investor focus will remain on updates pertaining to these candidates.

OncoMed, a biopharmaceutical company, carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). A better-ranked stock in the biopharma space includes Actelion Ltd. (ALIOF) which carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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