Amid the stock sell-off, a bright spot appears and, of all things, it turns out to be Dendreon, the controversial and much-maligned little company that continues to press ahead with its Provenge prostate cancer vaccine.
In a statement, Dendreon says an independent data monitoring committee found Provenge reduced the risk of death by 20 percent compared to placebo in a late-stage trial of 500 patients - and its stock surged. The interim analysis also found no safety concerns and recommended the study continue.
However, for Dendreon to pass muster with the FDA, Provenge will have to reduce the risk of death by 22 percent, and the final results won't be available until mid-2009. And so the waiting game for Dendreon investors and would-be Provenge patients continues.
In May 2007, the FDA issued an "approvable letter" and asked for additional data - the IMPACT study was in response to the request for survival data. The vaccine, which has been the subject of enormous controversy, earlier failed to show that it slowed the progress of advanced prostate cancer in two key trials (back story here and here).