HCW cuts Onconova Therapeutics to neutral; removes PT

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H.C. Wainwright downgraded Onconova Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ONTX) to “neutral” from “buy” without a price target after the company’s Phase 3 INSPIRE trial with rigosertib in high-risk myelodysplastic syndromesfailed on both primary endpoints.

Shares of Onconova were quoted at 28 cents, down 73 cents, or 72%, in active trading after the open on Aug. 24.

The trial randomized patients to receive either IV rigosertib plus best supportive of care vs. physician choice of therapy with best supportive of care. 

Analyst Joseph Pantginis writes that while analyses continue, “it was particularly surprising that the physician choice performed better in the very high risk population. We say this because physician’s choice options have not changed in at least the last decade.”

Mr. Pantginis said the company also indicated that at the interim analysis, rigosertib was outperforming physician’s choice on survival. However, post-interim, physician’s choice began to outperform rigosertib. 

Mr. Pantginis said Onconova must now enter a bit of a rebuild phase, although “it is in the fortunate position to have meaningful pipeline opportunities in hand already.” 

He also expects the rigosertib program to further expand into solid tumors, though “we believe that investors would need to see meaningful data from solid tumor studies prior to increasing confidence on the drug again.”

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