EXCLUSIVE-Northwest Bio suspends screening of patients in brain cancer trial

Fri Aug 21, 2015 12:06pm EDT
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By Ransdell Pierson

Aug 21 (Reuters) - The chief executive officer of biotechnology company Northwest Biotherapeutics Inc said on Friday the company has temporarily stopped screening new patients for the trial of its experimental brain cancer drug.

CEO Linda Powers said in a telephone interview the company will issue a statement later Friday explaining why it took the step, just a few months before it had planned to complete recruitment of patients for the 7-year-old study of the drug, called DCVax-L.

Screening is the process by which a company makes sure that an individual seeking to enter a clinical trial meets eligibility requirements, such as age and not having had another cancer for the last five years.

The study is being conducted at over 60 medical centers in Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada. When asked whether the suspension of new patient screening will take effect in all countries, and whether the suspension was being required by health regulators, Powers said details would be provided in the planned company statement.

Shares of the company fell as much as 15 percent, before easing. At midday, it was off 9.2 percent to $8.06 on the Nasdaq. (Reporting by Ransdell Pierson in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)