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Mersana to halt development of one cancer therapy, refocus on another

Mersana Therapeutics Inc. said it would halt research on its experimental breast cancer drug XMT-1522, being developed in collaboration with Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.

The company terminated the development of XMT-1522 following a strategic evaluation and will now focus resources on the advancement of another cancer drug, XMT-1536.

XMT-1536 is being tested in a dose escalation study among patients with ovarian and non-small cell lung cancer adenocarcinoma with data expected to be reported in the first half of 2019.

A highly competitive market for HER2-targeted therapies forced the company to terminate XMT-1522 despite the drug showing positive signs of effectiveness and tolerability, said Mersana President and CEO Anna Protopapas.

The company is planning to reveal another experimental drug in the second half of 2019 and seek regulatory approval for human testing in the first half of 2020.

Cambridge, Mass.-based Mersana added that it is also seeking strategic collaborations to maximize the value of its pipeline.