Biotech stocks get a boost, or plunge, as new clinical data is shared before major cancer meeting

The stocks for companies developing cancer therapies were moving in morning trading on Friday as biotechs and researchers shared new clinical findings in advance of next week’s American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting. 

Here’s a recap of Friday’s big premarket moves:

  • Arcellx Inc.’s
    stock jumped 11.9% after an abstract provided updated data for its CART-ddBCMA. SVB Securities analysts said in a note on Friday that they were pleased to see that the experimental therapy “continues to have a competitive efficacy signal in 24 evaluable relapsed/refractory patients.”

  • Iovance Biotherapeutics Inc.’s
    stock tumbled 54.0% toward a five-year low, the day after the company shared data from a late-stage clinical trial for its melanoma therapy candidate. The data demonstrated a 29% objective response rate in one cohort of patients. However, the stock tanked in after-hours trading on Thursday. Mizuho Americas analyst Mara Goldstein attributed the stock drop to the difference in median duration of response in different groups of patients. “There is a disconnect between the results and the stock price reaction,” she told investors on Friday.

  • Mirati Therapeutics Inc.’s MRTX stock slid 41.6% toward a four-year low, the day after the company said its experimental treatment reduced tumors in 43% of patients with advanced lung cancer. This is better data than what has been reported for Amgen Inc.’s AMGN Lumakras, which was approved in the U.S. a year ago. Stifel analyst Benjamin Burnett said he thought the stock was down on lower-than-expected median duration of response, compared with Lumakras’ median duration of response. “In our view, MRTX is more likely to succeed here than AMGN,” he wrote in a note to investors. “While the stock is off on a negative second-line update, we recommend focusing on what we think is a more important frontline catalyst later in the year.”

  • SpringWorks Therapeutics Inc.’s
    stock plummeted 55.6% toward a record low after the company shared data on Thursday from a Phase 1/2 clinical trial evaluating nirogacestat in combination with a GlaxoSmithKline’s
    Blenrep in patients with multiple myeloma. J.P. Morgan analysts called the data a “clear win/home run” but noted that it’s too early to make conclusions about the cohort expansion data. This could “potentially create an overhang on the program until the update later in the year,” they wrote.

  • Zymeworks Inc.’s
    stock rallied as much as 5.2% before reversing course to fall 1.2%, the day after sharing data that a combination of zanidatamab with docetaxel (a common chemotherapy) generated a 90.5% objective response rate as a first-line treatment for advanced HER2 breast cancer. SVB Securities analyst Andrew Berens said the data puts the experimental combination in the same category as Roche Holding AG’s
    Herceptin and Perjeta with docetaxel. “Ultimately, we think that [first-line] breast opportunity could represent a meaningful opportunity for ZYME, and we attribute $852 [million] in peak WW sales in the indication,” he told investors on Friday.

The SPDR S&P Biotech ETF
was down 39.6% for the year, while the S&P 500
has declined 13.78%. 

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