Ariad Pharmaceuticals will continue a late-stage trial of the company’s experimental cancer treatment ridaforolimus after a positive recommendation from the independent data monitoring committee (DMC).

The DMC indicated that the safety data from the first interim analysis were consistent with the known safety profile of the drug and no modifications to the study protocol were recommended.

The late-stage trial, which has involved over 500 patients to date, has been testing the new oral drug in patients with metastatic sarcoma, with the main goal of achieving progression-free survival.

Ariad chairman and CEO Dr Harvey J Berger said that the recommendation by the DMC to continue the Phase III Suceed trial to completion represents an important step in the development of oral ridaforolimus as a potential new treatment option for patients with metastatic sarcomas.

Full patient enrollment is expected to take place by the end of 2009 and the second interim analysis is expected by the end of the first quarter of 2010.

Ariad is also testing the drug for the treatment of breast, lung and prostate cancer.