Healthcare Business

Wedbush's Monday ASCO Roundup

Chris Lange

The 54th annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has just concluded, and there were some significant moves we saw as a result. Wedbush took a closer look at some of the companies in its coverage universe that presented on Monday and what the impact may be going forward.

Endocyte Inc. (NASDAQ: ECYT) provided an update from its clinical study of PSMA-617 that showed high prostate-specific antigen responses in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer patients treated, which correlated to better progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS).

Overall, the update reinforced Wedbush’s confidence of success in the Phase 3 VISION trial, which is now open for enrollment. VISION is 90% powered to show a 2.1 month OS improvement over assumed 10 month OS in control; early stoppage at 50% and 70% of events would correspond to a 4.9 month and 3.3 month OS improvement over control.

Shares of Endocyte were last seen down about 4% at $12.71, with a consensus analyst price target of $17.67 and a 52-week trading range of $1.17 to $14.86.

Karyopharm Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: KPTI) reported results from the Phase 2 portion of pivotal Phase 2/3 SEAL study of selinexor in dedifferentiated liposarcoma (DDLS). The previously reported results met PFS endpoint under RECIST criteria (5.5-month versus 2.7-month with placebo). No benefit was observed under World Health Organization (WHO) criteria, which in DDLS is considered to be a poorer determinant of tumor status since it can mistakenly classify stable disease as progressive disease. Wedbush expects the Phase 3 portion will succeed as well, but the firm notes the limited economic value in the indication given rarity and short duration of use.

Karyopharm shares were trading up about 2% at $17.83, with a consensus price target of $23.36 and a 52-week range of $8.00 to $20.39.

Novocure Ltd. (NASDAQ: NVCR) announced results from its Phase 3 INNOVATE trial of TTFields in platinum-resistant ovarian cancer. There were no major surprises, except study size is larger than some investors expected, which is not concerning. INNOVATE-3 is set to start later this year and as previously announced will enroll patients with recurrent platinum-resistant ovarian cancer.

Wedbush sees INNOVATE as well powered to show a benefit with TTFields over paclitaxel alone, which in AURELIA was associated with a 3.9-month median PFS and 13.2-month median survival; results from a single arm Phase 2 show a median PFS of 8.9 months with TTFields plus paclitaxel with median OS not yet reached at last update in 2017. Although the larger trial size will drive up expenses, with $216 million in cash reported in the first quarter, the firm sees Novocure as well positioned to fund this and the three other Phase 3 trials it is running.

Novocure was trading up about 3% at $30.48 a share, with a consensus price target of $31.80 and a 52-week range of $13.35 to $32.00.

Tesaro Inc. (NASDAQ: TSRO) gave a positive update at ASCO over its QUADRA and TOPACIO studies, but this was not enough to counteract negative sentiment. Updated data from TOPACIO study showed a 28% overall response rate (ORR) and 50% disease control rate (DCR) with Zejula and pembro, with strongest activity seen in the BRCA mutation subset (60% ORR, 80% DCR and median PFS of 8.3 months).

Shares of Tesaro were last seen up about 2% at $43.25. The consensus price target is $85.31, and the 52-week range is $42.13 to $153.98.