This Biotech Stock Rocketed On Human Trials For New Cancer Drug

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Cellectis ( CLLS ) popped early Wednesday after it and Dow’s Pfizer ( PFE ) presented strong data for the first in-human trials of a cancer therapy at the American Society of Hematology conference.

[ibd-display-video id=3020793 width=50 float=left autostart=true] By the closing bell on the stock market today , Cellectis had leapt 11.6% to finish at 26.80, after earlier rising as much as 18.5%, near a five-week high. Pfizer advanced 0.2%, near 36.64.

The Phase 1 studies tested a drug known as UCART19 in adult and pediatric patients with a form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia that either relapsed or didn’t respond to other methods of treatment.

Collectively, patients achieved an 83% remission rate across both populations. Five out of seven adult patients achieved remission with no evidence of disease in the blood cells or bone marrow at day 28 after treatment with UCART19, Cellectis said in a news release.

Only one case of graft-vs.-host disease occurred and there were no instances of severe neurotoxicity. One patient developed severe cytokine release syndrome, characterized by flu-like symptoms, and died. This was previously reported, Instinet analyst Christoper Marai said in a report to clients.

IBD’S TAKE: Earlier in the week, several biotechs popped following presentations at the American Society of Hematology. Follow their news by visiting IBD Industry Themes .

In the pediatric trial, all five children achieved minimal residual disease, enabling them to proceed to a stem cell transplant. There was only one case of graft-vs.-host disease and none of neurotoxicity. Cytokine release syndrome cases were mild and manageable.

Marai views Cellectis’ UCART platform to be “more fundamentally transformative to the cellular therapy space” than a new target for traditional CAR-T therapies. CAR-T therapy teaches a patient’s immune system to fight cancer using specific targets in the body.

Cellectis describes its UCART platform as a “frozen, off-the-shelf T-cell-based medicinal product.” It is allogeneic rather than autologous, meaning the cells used are from a donor and produced for a wide population rather than directly from the patient.

“Fundamentally, the data presented established viability and success of allogeneic CAR-T, through a path to re-dosing and validation across multiple targets (which was previously thought to be impossible),” Marai said.

He reiterated his buy rating and 43 price target on Cellectis.

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