Shares of Idera Pharmaceuticals Inc. plummeted 63.3% in active trading to pace all premarket decliners, after the immunotherapy company said the ILLUMINATE-301 pivotal registration trial of its treatment of patients with anti-PD-1 refractory advanced melanoma failed to meet its primary endpoint of objective response rate. Trading volume spiked to 6.0 million shares ahead of the open, compared with the full-day average of about 1.1 million shares over the past 30 days. The company said it is evaluating its next steps regarding continuation of the trial, toward its endpoint of overall survival. “We are surprised and disappointed that the response data from ILLUMINATE-301 do not lead us to an accelerated path to a new and much-needed treatment option for these patients,” said Chief Executive Vincent Milano. J.P. Morgan analyst Matthew Bannon followed by downgrading Idera to neutral from overweight, saying the trial results has led to “significantly more uncertainty on several fronts.” Through Thursday, the stock had rallied 22.6% over the past three months, while the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF has slipped 1.6% and the S&P 500 has gained 5.6%.
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