Key Movers to Look for Ahead of ASCO

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The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is in the process of gearing up for its annual meeting. At this meeting, cancer drug developers will share the results from their most recent drug trials. Generally speaking, there are quite a few movers that come from this event, and some people even consider this the biggest week of the year for biotech and pharmaceutical companies.

For the 2016 annual meeting, the health care sector is converging on Chicago starting on June 3 through June 7, so the real action starts next Friday. However, ASCO previously released the abstracts for its exhibitors ahead of the conference, as it does every year, and these can give us a good idea of what to look for in the meeting.

After the release on May 18, Credit Suisse thoroughly screened the ASCO abstracts and identified key data that will be presented at ASCO this year, but the firm believes that the data that will result in 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 it 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 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 moved and the consensus price targets.

Puma Biotechnology

At the ASCO annual meeting, Puma Biotechnology Inc. (NYSE: PBYI) is set to present data on its drug candidate PB272 (neratinib). Before the second quarter of 2016 is done, we can expect Puma to submit a New Drug Application (NDA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) in the European Union. PB272 is for the extended adjuvant treatment of HER2-positive early stage breast cancer based on positive ExteNET Phase 3 study results. By the end of 2016, we can expect Phase 2 data from PB272 Summit trial and for HER2 non-amplified breast cancer. In either the fourth quarter of 2016 or the following quarter, Puma expects to present Phase 3 data of PB272 for third-line HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer.

Puma’s shares were last seen at $37.28, within a 52-week trading range of $19.74 to $201.49. The consensus price target is $67.60.

Celldex Therapeutics

Ahead of the meeting, Celldex Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: CLDX) released a couple abstracts detailing its treatment for patients with high-risk melanoma. Essentially, the abstracts evaluated its treatments CDX301, a recombinant human Flt3 ligand, plus vaccination with CDX1401, a fusion protein consisting of human monoclonal IgG1 antibody targeting the dendritic cell 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 closed Friday at $4.33, with a consensus price target of $14.18 and a 52-week range of $2.96 to $29.94.

Celator Pharmaceuticals

Celator Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CPXX) announced that the 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 traded at $17.53 as the week came to a close. The stock has a consensus analyst target of $21.20 and a 52-week range of $1.12 to $18.18.

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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.

Ziopharm shares closed Friday at $7.39, with a consensus price target of $14.00 and a 52-week range of $4.56 to $14.93.