Healthcare Business

Iovance Bio's Big Break in Cervical Cancer Ahead of ASCO

Chris Lange

The 55th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is scheduled for May 31 to June 4 in Chicago. This meeting always brings big swings in the health care sector, whether positive or negative. As we have said before, the results presented at this meeting have the potential to make or break these companies.

Iovance Biotherapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: IOVA) is one of the early big winners from ASCO. The firm announced updates from ongoing clinical trials including new interim data from studies of tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) therapy LN-145 in patients with advanced cervical cancer and with TIL therapy lifileucel in advanced melanoma.

Additionally, the company announced that the first PD-1/PD-L1 naive patient has been dosed with TIL therapy and that it has entered into a collaboration with Genocea to evaluate the potential for an improved TIL product.

Data from the innovaTIL-04 study in patients with recurrent, metastatic or persistent cervical cancer showed an overall response rate of 44% (one complete response, nine partial responses and two unconfirmed partial responses) and a disease control rate of 89%.

At 3.5-month median study follow-up, 11 out of 12 patients maintained a response. The adverse event profile was generally consistent with the underlying advanced disease and the profile of the lymphodepletion and IL-2 regimens. The data will be presented on Saturday, June 1. As a reference, the overall response rate for Keytruda used in second line cervical cancer patients is 14%.

Amir Jazaeri, M.D., innovaTIL-04 study investigator and associate professor of Gynecological Oncology and Reproductive Medicine at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, commented:

As advanced cervical cancer is typically diagnosed at a relatively young age and efficacy of existing treatment options is extremely low, there is potential to significantly impact care with an option that can bring about long-term remission and complete responses. The interim data from LN-145 present compelling evidence that TIL therapy, provided as a single administration, could improve upon current treatments.

Shares of Iovance were last seen up about 44% at $16.23 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $7.26 to $18.25. The consensus price target is $24.50.