A higher death rate can certainly end the research.  The drug, elesclomol was targeted to pretty much make cancer cells self destruct.  It did slow down the tumor growth, but the death rate, and reasons there of, are still unknown, thus the study was stopped. 

GlaxoSmithKline had already committed a billion if the drug worked and already had invested 130 million in the company, so that’s 130 million to be absorbed and perhaps added to what we pay for our drugs. Every drug company has to spread the losses as such.  Another melanoma drug from Pfizer, called tremelimumab, also failed last year in a big trial.image

The middle studies were looking good, and other companies have used the middle studies as a turning point as to whether or not to continue trials and have been successful in saving dollars to quit before emerging into the final series of trials and R and D, but this time it didn’t work as mid way through everything was looking fine at that point to continue.  The company holds over 500 patents and has other products in the pipeline, but the failed results certainly did no favors for the stock value.  BD 

Synta Pharmaceuticals' grand dreams fall apart over safety issues with a new melanoma medicine.

Just days ago, Synta Pharmaceuticals was one of the hottest small biotech companies. It was nearing completion of final stage testing of a potent new drug to combat melanoma that already had the imprimatur of GlaxoSmithKline, Synta's partner.

Thursday night, the company's grand dreams all fell apart. The company announced it had stopped all trials of the drug because an analysis of its big melanoma trial had found serious safety issues, including a higher death rate among patients taking the experimental drug.

Another Cancer Drug Bites the Dust? - Forbes.com

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The Danny Fund – Research and Development To Find the cure for Melanoma

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Melanoma Trial canceled – not effective

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