Mersana Therapeutics shares plummet 40% after patient death in cancer trial

Mersana Therapeutics Inc.

MRSN, -30.86%

said early Thursday that, after the company reported a patient death in its cancer drug trial, the Food and Drug Administration placed the trial on a partial clinical hold. The patient death could be related to Mersana Therapeutics’ drug, XMT-1522. Company shares plummeted 43.8% in premarket trade. Under the partial hold, no new patients will be enrolled in the phase 1 trial, though the trial — which is testing the drug in individuals with breast, gastric and non-small cell lung cancers — will continue on for patients who are already participating, the company said. Mersana shares were halted in premarket trade. XMT-1522 is the furthest-along product in Mersana’s pipeline. The partial clinical hold will not affect the development of Mersana’s other therapy, XMT-1536, the company said, which is also in early-stage clinical trials. Company shares have declined 2.3% over the last three months, compared with a 4.6% rise in the S&P 500

SPX, -0.17%

and a 2.2% rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, -0.29%

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