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OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. recently announced that it is looking to move its oncology candidate, OGX-427, into a phase II study, Spruce, for the potential treatment of previously untreated advanced non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

The investigator-sponsored, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase II study will evaluate whether progression-free survival (PFS) outcomes can be improved by adding OGX-427 to carboplatin and pemetrexed therapy.

In the Spruce study, patients with non-squamous NSCLC will be randomized to receive carboplatin and pemetrexed therapy plus either OGX-427 or placebo.

Spruce is the fifth phase II study being conducted with OGX-427 after Borealis-1, Borealis-2, Pacific and OGX-427-PR01. 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. 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 Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ - Free Report) Zytiga in men with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) while OGX-427-PR01 is evaluating the benefit of OGX-427 plus prednisone in CRPC patients.

The most advanced candidate in OncoGenex’ pipeline is custirsen, which is being studied for three indications under phase III trials, namely, Affinity (second-line CRPC), Enspirit (advanced NSCLC) and Synergy (chemotherapy - naive CRPC)

OncoGenex has a global collaboration and license agreement with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA - Free Report) for custirsen.

OncoGenex and Teva currently carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Currently, companies like UCB (UCBJF - Free Report) look more attractive with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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