Disappointing Trial Results Released, Celsion Stock Plummets
ThermoDox, Celsion Corporation’s promising liver cancer treatment that had dramatically buoyed stock prices, has now also led to its demise on the market. Shares dropped by more than 80 percent during the first hour of trading on Thursday after reports came of the experimental drug’s failure to live up to expectations in a Phase III clinical trial.
Results were “not even close” to meeting the trial’s goals, CEO Michael Tardugno said on an investor conference call. "I don't believe the data will support (marketing) registration in any of the major markets.”
During 2012, Celsion’s stock more than tripled in price in anticipation of ThermoDox’s success. Developed in partnership with Duke University, the Food and Drug Administration had awarded the drug technology a fast-track designation in August 2010.
Celsion Heat Trial Data in January
The trial, named HEAT, illustrated how ThermoDox used a liposome to deliver a commonly used chemotherapy drug, doxorubicin, directly to tumors. Locally applied heat therapy would then release the drug, increasing its effectiveness. In an unexpected twist, the treatment did not provide better results when compared to radiofrequency ablation, where tumors are destroyed using electricity.
The news comes just a week after a partnership was announced between Celsion and leading Chinese pharmaceutical company Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical Company. Celsion had already received an initial payment of $5 million.
The future value of ThermoDox will be further analyzed using data from the trial, and will continue to be tested in mid-stage studies to treat breast and colorectal cancers.
Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system.
NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion.
Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making.
In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog.
Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening.
DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.
Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges.
"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”