How Compugen Is Weathering Thursday’s Storm

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Compugen Ltd. (NASDAQ: CGEN) shares pushed higher on Thursday after it was announced that Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE: BMY) will make a $12 million equity investment as part of its collaboration on a cancer trial.

The companies are entering into a collaboration to evaluate the safety and tolerability of Compugen’s COM701 in combination with Bristol-Myers’s Opdivo (nivolumab) in patients with advanced solid tumors.

Under the terms of the share purchase agreement, Bristol-Myers will make a $12 million investment in Compugen, comprised of 2,424,243 shares of Compugen stock purchased at $4.95 per share, representing a 33% premium over the average closing price on the past 20 Nasdaq trading days. The investment is expected to close on or about October 12 and is subject to closing conditions.

As for the study, Compugen will sponsor the ongoing two-part Phase 1 trial, which includes the evaluation of the combination of COM701 and Opdivo in four tumor types, including non-small cell lung, ovarian, breast and endometrial cancer.

The collaboration also is designed to address potential future combinations, including trials sponsored by Bristol-Myers to investigate combined inhibition of checkpoint mechanisms, such as PVRIG and TIGIT. The clinical combination of multiple immune checkpoint inhibition is designed to test the biological rationale of the PVRIG pathway and the synergistic activity demonstrated in preclinical models.

Anat Cohen-Dayag, Ph.D., president and CEO of Compugen, commented:

We are excited to have Bristol-Myers Squibb, the global leader in immuno-oncology, as a collaborator and strategic investor in Compugen. This collaboration gives Compugen access to Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo, enabling the evaluation of COM701 plus a PD-1 inhibitor and potentially accelerating the timeline for clinical testing of COM701 as part of other novel combinations.

Shares of Compugen were last seen up about 5% at $3.41 on Thursday, with a consensus analyst price target of $8.67 and a 52-week trading range of $2.25 to $5.00.

Bristol-Myers was down about 3% to $58.98, in a 52-week range of $49.96 to $70.05. The consensus price target is $61.29.