Last week closed on a bit of a low for UK drugmaker Antisoma after it was forced to pull the plug on its investigational drug AS1402, terminating a Phase II clinical development programme testing its potential in the treatment of breast cancer.

AS1402 is a humanised antibody which targets a protein found in 90% of breast cancers and in a wide range of other tumours. Last October, the group kicked off a Phase II study assessing a combination of the drug and Novartis’ hormone therapy Femara (letrozole) in post-menopausal women receiving first-line treatment for advanced breast cancer.

Final results of the study were not due until next year, but following a review of interim results and a meeting with the Data Monitoring Committee, the firm decided it was “very unlikely” that the study would generate “sufficiently positive efficacy findings”, forcing it to dump the project.

Commenting on the development, Glyn Edwards, Antisoma's chief executive, said the company is disappointed that the drug “was not able to provide benefit to breast cancer patients”, but was quick to downplay the effect of its failure on the business, pointing out that, as an early stage product, AS1402 was “not an important contributor to our overall value”.

Antisoma stressed that the data review did not throw up any safety concerns over the drug, but added that it has no plans for any further studies.

Although the group’s stock sank more than 8% on the London Stock Exchange on Friday in what was probably somewhat of a knee-jerk reaction to the news, shares eventually settled down to close the day less than 1% lower at 28.50.