CAMBRIDGE - Idera Pharmaceuticals Inc. said yesterday that its partner Merck KGaA has abandoned development of an experimental cancer drug due to side effects, including blood cell abnormalities. Idera’s shares tumbled.
German drug maker Merck has been paying licensing fees to Idera for its compound IMO-2055, which is under investigation as a treatment for cancerous tumors of the head and neck.
Merck decided to drop the drug after an early-stage study showed patients were more likely to have low white blood cell counts and electrolyte imbalances.
Idera said Merck intends to complete an midstage trial of the drug that is already underway. The companies will continue to collaborate on similar drugs in the future.
Idera shares fell 15 cents to $2 yesterday.