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Oxford Bio abandons prostate cancer vaccine study

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Oxford BioMedica said on Wednesday it was closing a mid-stage clinical trial of its cancer vaccine TroVax in U.S. patients with prostate cancer, dealing a further blow to the troubled product.

Shares in the company fell more than 9 percent on the news.

The group had been testing TroVax in men with progressive hormone refractory prostate cancer but it faced an uphill struggle, given the arrival of new products for the disease and other clinical trials targeting the same indication.

As a result, recruitment into the Phase II study was much slower than hoped with just 26 patients recruited to date.

TroVax, once viewed as Oxford Bio's most promising product, suffered a setback four years ago when it failed in a study for kidney cancer. Despite that blow the company has pushed on with tests in other cancer types.

TroVax is also being assessed in British studies as a treatment for colorectal and ovarian cancer, as well as for mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer usually caused by exposure to asbestos.

"Securing a development or financial partner for TroVax's future late-stage development remains a key strategic priority for the company and discussions with interested parties are ongoing," Oxford Bio added in a statement.

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)

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