BioSante to begin tests on prostate cancer vaccine

Testing of an experimental prostate cancer drug begun almost two years after the research was stopped will soon restart, BioSante Pharmaceuticals, Inc. said on Monday.

Testing of BioSante's GVAX drug will resume by the end of the year, the company said, subject to regulatory approval.

Cell Genesys initially developed the vaccine but placed the trial on hold in August 2008 following a high number of reported deaths in patients taking the drug.

A halt on another study of GVAX was then ordered by regulators.

BioSante purchased Cell Genesys last October and has begun testing GVAX as a pancreatic cancer and leukemia treatment.

The announcement of the new testing of GVAX closely follows the Food and Drug Administration's approval of Provenge, Dendreon Corp.'s prostate cancer drug. Provenge and GVAX are both designed as a method of training a patient's immune system to fight cancer.

Other cancer vaccines are also in late-stage development, including ones to fight the skin disease melanoma and the often fatal childhood tumer nueroblastoma.

Manufacturing of GVAX Prostate has already begun by BioSante, which is working to get the Food and Drug Administration to allow testing to resume. If testing is approved, the company plans to begin treating patients in a midstage clinical study starting in the fourth quarter.