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Ziopharm Hopes Gene Therapy Is Still A Going Concern

Ziopharm Oncology (NASDAQ:ZIOP) tried to play down a death in a patient treated with its gene therapy candidate Ad-RTS-hIL-12, but could not stop its share price dipping 12% on Friday. The group’s stock chart over the past 18 months illustrates how early hype over gene therapy has been tempered by the harsh reality of clinical development – at around $5 now, Ziopharm’s shares are substantially off a high of $14.57 in November.

The fatality, caused by an intracranial haemorrhage, came in a phase I trial of Ad-RTS-hIL-12 plus veledimex in glioblastoma and malignant glioma. It is unclear what triggered it – Ziopharm is still analyzing the data and has not yet formally reported the death to the FDA. For...