London: An experimental cancer vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline failed to help melanoma patients in a closely watched late-stage clinical trial, dealing a blow to the high-risk, high-reward project.Britain`s biggest drugmaker said on Thursday that it would continue with the Phase III trial of its MAGE-A3 therapeutic vaccine to see if it benefited a subset of patients with a particular genetic signature.The trial has two joint targets, known as co-primary endpoints, looking at both the broad population and a patient subset, so it is possible the treatment will yet prove effective for a small number of people with the deadly skin cancer.It is also being tested in lung cancer.The vaccine is one of two particularly high-risk developmental GSK products that industry analysts believe could, in theory, become multi-billion dollar sellers. The other is a heart drug called darapladib, designed to fight clogged arteries in a different way to statins.In both cases, however, analysts have been wary of modeling firm sales forecasts, given the above-average risk of failure, and as a result GSK stock fell only 1 percent by 1410 GMT.Shares in its U.S. partner Agenus, however, slumped 33 percent, reflecting the high hopes riding on the project at the small biotech firm. Agenus provides one of the components in GSK`s vaccine.Citigroup analyst Andrew Baum said that already low consensus expectations for the product are now likely to fall further. He currently forecasts sales of only 149 million pounds ($233 million) in 2018 for the MAGE-A3 vaccine in both melanoma and lung cancer. That figure is about half the industry consensus.
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