Healthcare Business

8 Stocks on the Move After ASCO Cancer Abstracts

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is in the process of setting up for its annual meeting in Chicago. In this meeting, companies and cancer drug developers will share their results from their most recent drug trials. The results released at this meeting will have the potential to make or break companies. Generally speaking, there are quite a few movers that come from this event, and some even consider this the biggest week of the year for biotech and pharmaceutical companies.

The annual meeting is set for June 3 through June 7, so we still have a ways to go before the real action starts. However, ASCO has just released the abstracts for its exhibitors ahead of the conference, as it does every year. For investors and analysts, these abstracts offer somewhat of a preview for the meeting and sometimes winners or losers from the meeting can be divined ahead of time by these abstracts.

Credit Suisse thoroughly screened the ASCO abstracts and identified key data that will be presented at ASCO this year, but in the firm’s view the data that will result in the stock moves is still under embargo until the meeting starts. From a competitive standpoint, Credit Suisse continues to favor Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE: BMY) and Rogers Corp. (NYSE: ROG), but is eager to see credit given to Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) for abemaciclib and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) for avelumab.

24/7 Wall St. has taken a look at some of the major ASCO movers in regard to this ASCO release and how they have performed since the abstracts dropped. Color and background information also have been added on each, as well as how shares have been moving and the consensus price targets.

Celator Pharmaceuticals

Celator Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CPXX) announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Breakthrough Therapy designation to Vyxeos (CPX-351). The company released its abstract on CPX-351 detailing significantly improved overall survival, event free survival and response without an increase in 60-day mortality. CPX-351 should become the standard of care for older patients with secondary acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Vyxeos is an investigational product in development as a treatment for AML and other blood cancers.

Shares of Celator were trading up 12.5% at $16.96 early Thursday, with a consensus analyst price target of $20.40 and a 52-week trading range of $1.12 to $17.40.

Ziopharm Oncology

Ziopharm Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ: ZIOP) announced that interim results from its ongoing Phase 1, multi-center dose-escalation study of the gene therapy candidate Ad-RTS-hIL-12 + orally administered veledimex in patients with recurrent or progressive glioblastoma. The company released two abstracts regarding these interim results. Ad-RTS-hIL-12 + veledimex is a novel viral gene therapy candidate for the controlled expression of interleukin 12 (IL-12), a pro-inflammatory cytokine critical for stimulating anti-cancer immune responses.

In a separate press release, Ziopharm detailed:

Early results observed in the limited number of patients who have been treated with Ad-RTS-hIL-12 + veledimex are very encouraging for a Phase 1 study. Virus-based gene therapy used to stimulate an immunological response in the brain is at the frontier of innovation in treatment, with Ad-RTS-hIL-12 offering perhaps the most controllable approach within this field. In this study, we see encouraging signs of immune activation following the administration of Ad-RTS-hIL-12 + veledimex.

Shares of Ziopharm were trading down 1.5% at $6.89, with a consensus price target of $7.00 and a 52-week range of $4.56 to $14.93.


AstraZeneca PLC (NYSE: AZN) will present 73 abstracts at ASCO, with 19 related to olaparib and new potential medicines targeting DNA damage response in multiple tumor types. Most of these abstracts accentuate the continued progress of the company’s oncology pipeline, as well as new data behind this momentum in AstraZeneca’s immune-oncology programs, small molecule developments and leukemia treatments.

AstraZeneca shares were trading down 1.4% at $28.45, with a consensus price target of $35.41 and a 52-week range of $27.68 to $34.94.

Celldex Therapeutics

Celldex Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: CLDX) released a couple abstracts ahead of the meeting, detailing its treatment for patients with high-risk melanoma. Essentially, the abstracts evaluated its treatments CDX301, a recombinant human Flt3 ligand (Flt3L), plus vaccination with CDX1401, a fusion protein consisting of human monoclonal IgG1 antibody targeting the dendritic cell (DC) receptor linked to the tumor antigen, in a Phase 2 study. The company noted that both treatments were well tolerated and preliminary analyses showed substantial increases of innate immune cells. Data from all 60 patients in this study will be presented at the meeting.

Shares of Celldex were last seen up 3.8% at $4.08, with a consensus price target of $14.18 and a 52-week range of $2.96 to $29.94.

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