(Reuters) - Amgen Inc halted a late-stage trial of an experimental drug for pancreatic cancer after independent reviewers concluded that it was unlikely to significantly help patients.
Amgen said the trial of ganitumab, also known as AMG479, did not raise any safety concerns. The company said it would also stop a separate mid-stage trial of the drug.
RBC Capital Markets analyst Michael Yee said he had not expected the study to succeed.
"We would say that this is yet another reason why we believe Amgen needs to be more prudent with R&D expense and raise its hurdle for go/no-go decisions in its pipeline, and that it probably should reduce its earlier-stage R&D spend," he said in a research note.
Yee, who rates Amgen as "outperform," said there is still a positive bias on the company's stock because management holds the option of cutting costs and is also likely to raise dividend payments.
"These disappointing results underscore the difficulty of treating pancreatic cancer, which remains an unmet medical need," Sean Harper, head of research and development at Amgen, said in a statement.
Shares of Amgen, which closed at $81.37, were trading down a fraction at $81.09 after hours.
(Reporting By Deena Beasley; Editing by Bernard Orr and Steve Orlofsky)