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Immunogen halts trial of lung cancer drug; shares drop

(Reuters) - Immunogen Inc said it would discontinue a mid-stage trial of its experimental small-cell lung cancer drug following the death of a patient, sending its shares down 17 percent.

The company said an independent monitoring panel had recommended that all patients discontinue the treatment, noting an imbalance in the rate of infection and infection-related deaths between patients on the treatment and those receiving standard chemotherapy.

The trial was testing the benefits of the drug, code-named IMGN901, in combination with chemotherapy drugs carboplatin or etoposide, compared with chemotherapy alone.

"This news is a negative for the stock and a setback for the company, since IMGN901 is one of four clinical programs that are wholly owned, and was the most advanced clinically," Cowen and Co analyst Simos Simeonidis wrote in a client note.

The company said there had been one infection-related death, possibly related to the drug, among 198 patients receiving the therapy.

Immunogen said it was analyzing the data trial to determine the future of the drug.

The company's shares were down 16 percent at $13.96 in early trading on the Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Shailesh Kuber in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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