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Tokai pharmaceuticals ends prostate cancer drug trial

Tokai Pharmaceuticals Inc., a 12-year-old Boston biotech company, said Tuesday it was ending a clinical trial of an experimental prostate cancer drug after an independent committee concluded it “will likely not succeed” in meeting its goal of improving progression-free survival for patients.

Shares in Tokai were down more than 70 percent in pre-market trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange just after 9 a.m.

The announcement threw the future of Tokai, which had about $43.9 million in cash on hand on June 30, into question.

In a statement, the company said it was following the recommendation of its independent data monitoring committee in determining that it would discontinue the late-stage study of its drug candidate, which targeted patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer that expressed a particular genetic mutation.

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“We are very disappointed by this outcome,” Tokai chief executive Jodie Morrison said in a company statement. “An immediate priority if to analyze the... data in detail as we evaluate potential paths forward.”


Robert Weisman can be reached at robert.weisman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeRobW.