Washington Editor

Aphton Corp. on Monday released Phase III data showing that Stage IV pancreatic cancer patients treated with its anti-gastrin immunogen, G17DT, had a median survival time that was 53 percent longer than the placebo group.

William Leonard, an associate in investor relations at Miami-based Aphton, said he would not discuss details of the trial beyond information included in a press release. The trial, described as randomized, double-blind, controlled and statistically powered, was conducted in European countries.

Leonard would not say how many people participated.

"Aphton does not want to prejudice the review of this trial by regulatory authorities in the various jurisdictions. Therefore, any additional information regarding either the trial or its strategy will be provided by means of a public news release at the appropriate times," the release said.

According to the company, 25 percent of the patients in the G17DT arm had a survival time that was 106 percent longer than the control arm, and at any one time, patients on G17DT had a 143 percent higher likelihood of surviving longer than control patients.

The trial included patients with advanced pancreatic cancer who had received no previous therapy. The primary efficacy measure was survival time from the date of randomization.

"Aphton believes these are pivotal Phase III clinical trial results and is formulating its strategy for selection of jurisdictions and the timing of regulatory filings for marketing approvals therein," the release said.

Aphton also is studying G17DT in patients with advanced gastric cancer, and plans to study the same immunogen in patients with gastrointestinal reflux disease.

Aphton's stock (NASDAQ:APHT) closed Monday at $2.12, up 2 cents.