While Covid-19 continues to steal the headlines, the multi-century pandemic known as Cancer still deserves the brunt of our attention. And it’s getting it. New and remarkable discoveries and treatments have been brought to the fore over recent months, and more are on the way.
According to Allied Market Research, the global oncology/cancer drugs market was valued at $97 billion in 2017, and is estimated to reach $176 billion by 2025.
That forms the context for the present analysis, as we look at several stocks geared up to contribute to the answer, including: Exelixis, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXEL), Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE:BMY), Nascent Biotech Inc. (OTCMKTS:NBIO), and Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK).
Exelixis, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXEL) trumpets itself as a biotechnology company that engages in the discovery, development, and commercialization of new medicines to enhance care and outcomes for people with cancer. The company’s products include CABOMETYX tablets for the treatment of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma who received prior anti-angiogenic therapy; and COMETRIQ capsules for the treatment of patients with progressive and metastatic medullary thyroid cancer.
Its CABOMETYX and COMETRIQ are derived from cabozantinib, an inhibitor of multiple tyrosine kinases, including MET, AXL, RET, and VEGF receptors. It also offers COTELLIC tablets, an inhibitor of MEK in combination with vemurafenib for the treatment of patients with BRAF V600E or V600K mutation-positive advanced melanoma in the United States; and in combination with vemurafenib in other territories, including the European Union, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, and Brazil.
Exelixis, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXEL) just recently announced positive phase 1b clinical trial results for the combination of cabozantinib (CABOMETYX®) and atezolizumab (TECENTRIQ®) in patients with locally advanced or metastatic solid tumors. Data from two expansion cohorts of the COSMIC-021 trial was presented during the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Virtual Congress 2020.
“Given the broad experience with cabozantinib as monotherapy for advanced kidney cancer, it’s very exciting to see the growing body of clinical evidence that demonstrates encouraging tolerability and clinical activity when combining cabozantinib with atezolizumab in this disease,” said Dr. Sumanta Pal, Clinical Professor, City of Hope, the principal investigator for the COSMIC-021 study. “We are especially encouraged to see a durable objective response in more than 50% of patients with previously untreated clear cell RCC, paired with an acceptable safety profile at both cabozantinib dose levels evaluated in combination with atezolizumab. We look forward to learning more about the potential of this combination regimen to improve outcomes for patients with advanced kidney cancer from the ongoing phase 3 CONTACT-03 trial.”
Despite the clear impact, this revelation hasn’t been able to hold off sellers, with shares of the stock suffering from clear pressure over the past week, dropping by roughly -4%.
Exelixis, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXEL) pulled in sales of $259.5M in its last reported quarterly financials, representing top line growth of 8%. In addition, the company has a strong balance sheet, with cash levels far exceeding current liabilities ($1.2B against $142.7M).
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE:BMY) trumpets itself as a company that discovers, develops, licenses, manufactures, markets, and distributes biopharmaceutical products worldwide. The company offers drugs in various therapeutic classes, such as oncology; cardiovascular; immunoscience; and virology, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.
It sells products to wholesalers, retail pharmacies, hospitals, government entities and the medical profession. Bristol-Myers Squibb Company has a research partnership with Sirenas; and a collaboration agreement with Nektar Therapeutics, Illumina, Inc., Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Advantagene, Inc., as well as Tsinghua University.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE:BMY) and MyoKardia, Inc. (Nasdaq:MYOK) today announced a definitive merger agreement under which Bristol Myers Squibb will acquire MyoKardia for $13.1 billion, or $225.00 per share in cash. The transaction was unanimously approved by both the Bristol Myers Squibb and MyoKardia Boards of Directors and is anticipated to close during the fourth quarter of 2020.
According to the release, MyoKardia is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company discovering and developing targeted therapies for the treatment of serious cardiovascular diseases. Through the transaction, Bristol Myers Squibb gains mavacamten, a potential first-in-class cardiovascular medicine for the treatment of obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (“HCM”), a chronic heart disease with high morbidity and patient impact. A New Drug Application (“NDA”) for mavacamten for the treatment of symptomatic obstructive HCM – based on data from the EXPLORER-HCM study – is expected to be submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) in the first quarter of 2021. Bristol Myers Squibb expects to explore the full potential of mavacamten in additional indications, including non-obstructive HCM, as well as develop MyoKardia’s promising pipeline of novel compounds, including two clinical-stage therapeutics: danicamtiv (formerly MYK-491) and MYK-224.
While this is a clear positive, it hasn’t been enough to shift the tone of recent action, with BMY shares sinking something like -4% in the past week.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE:BMY) pulled in sales of $10.1B in its last reported quarterly financials, representing top line growth of 61.5%. In addition, the company is battling some balance sheet hurdles, with cash levels struggling to keep up with current liabilities ($21.9B against $23.4B, respectively).
Nascent Biotech Inc. (OTCMKTS:NBIO) is another interesting cancer play, but significantly more speculative in nature. However, this may also suggest it could have the greatest upside potential from present levels. its flagship mAb oncology drug candidate, Pritumumab, which is targeted at CNS gliomas (brain cancer), but other cancers share a common molecular target, vimentin, and NBIO aims to assign other cancer treatment indications to Pritumumab as a result. Pritumumab is a “fully natural human IgG antibody” that is intended to treat epithelial cancers (which include lung, breast, colon, brain, and pancreas).
The FDA has progressed with the company’s Investigational New Drug (IND) application, allowing NBIO to set up for a phase 1 clinical trial. Once the application is approved, the company will likely move immediately to kick off that trial. A successful course of trials will, in theory, eventually allow the company to bring the drug to market where it will have little in the way of serious competition given the poor outcomes currently defining the brain cancer treatment context.
Nascent Biotech Inc. (OTCMKTS:NBIO) just announced this morning that the company is in the process of making significant additions to its core team in order to prepare for the initiation of key Phase One clinical trials to study the safety and efficacy of the Company’s flagship drug, Pritumumab (PTB), a monoclonal antibody, for the treatment of Brain Cancer.
According to the release, effective November 1, 2020, Douglas Karas, a board director of Nascent Biotech for the past four years, joins the Company’s core team as Chief Operating Officer and head of Corporate Development and Dr. Ivan Babic, who has been involved with the Company since 2014, joins officially as Consulting Director of Research.
Sean Carrick, CEO of Nascent Biotech, commented, “As the Company moves into its clinical stage, personnel additions are necessary to support the transition of Nascent Biotech into a key player in the oncology arena by matching the caliber and promise of our intellectual property with an experienced, talented, and credible team.”
Nascent Biotech Inc (OTCMKTS:NBIO) has managed to emerge from its R&D phase into a clinical stage without a heavy debt-load, which suggests management has executed well into this stage.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) bills itself as a company that provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates in four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances.
In addition, the company offers products to prevent chemotherapy-induced and post-operative nausea and vomiting; treat brain tumors, and metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer; prevent diseases caused by human papillomavirus; and vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, shingles, rotavirus gastroenteritis, and pneumococcal diseases.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) recently announced first-time data from the pivotal Phase 3 KEYNOTE-590 trial evaluating KEYTRUDA, Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, in combination with platinum-based chemotherapy (cisplatin plus 5-fluorouracil [5-FU]) for the first-line treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic esophageal and gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. In the study, KEYTRUDA in combination with chemotherapy significantly improved overall survival (OS), reducing the risk of death by 27% [HR=0.73 [95% CI, 0.62-0.86]; p<0.0001], versus chemotherapy in all randomized patients.
According to the company’s release, KEYTRUDA in combination with chemotherapy also significantly improved progression-free survival (PFS), reducing the risk of disease progression or death by 35% or more than a third [HR=0.65 [95% CI, 0.55-0.76]; p<0.0001] in all randomized patients. With these results, KEYTRUDA is the first anti-PD-1 therapy in combination with chemotherapy to show superior OS, PFS and objective response rates (ORR) versus chemotherapy, the current standard of care, for these patients regardless of histology or PD-L1 expression status.
Despite the clear impact, this revelation hasn’t been able to hold off sellers, with shares of the stock suffering from clear pressure over the past week, dropping by roughly -3%. Over the past month, shares of the stock have suffered from clear selling pressure, dropping by roughly -4%.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) pulled in sales of $10.8B in its last reported quarterly financials, representing top line growth of -7.2%. In addition, the company is battling some balance sheet hurdles, with cash levels struggling to keep up with current liabilities ($11.1B against $22.2B, respectively).
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