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Synta stock surges on drug-test news

Associated Press / September 14, 2010

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LEXINGTON — Shares of Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp. surged more than 17 percent yesterday after the company said it is expanding a clinical trial of a lung cancer drug after an initial stage of testing produced encouraging results.

Synta said it will broaden its phase-two clinical trial of STA-9090 to 146 patients, from 69. The participants are in certain stages of non-small-cell lung cancer. STA-9090 is a potent, second-generation, small-molecule Hsp90 inhibitor, the company said.

The company aims to identify cancer types that will be especially responsive to treatment with STA-9090.

In the first phase of clinical trials, more than 70 percent of patients showed “a high disease-control rate,’’ said Vojo Vukovic, Synta’s chief medical officer.

“This early signal, combined with the objective responses seen following treatment with STA-9090, is very encouraging, particularly as the patients have been heavily pretreated and are refractory to many standard-of-care drugs,’’ he added.