Healthcare Business

Immutep Makes Big Claim to COVID-19 Antibody Patent

Immutep Ltd. (NASDAQ: IMMP) joins the ever-growing list of coronavirus stocks by announcing that it was granted a patent related to COVID-19 antibodies. Naturally, whenever a stock joins this list, there is serious hype and investors rushing in to get a piece of the action.

In terms of the specifics, the company announced the grant of patent #10,711,060 titled, “Antibody molecules to LAG-3 and uses thereof” by the United States Patent and Trade Mark Office.

Ultimately, this new U.S. patent is directed to embodiments of LAG525, a humanized form of Immutep’s IMP701 antibody, which is out-licensed to Novartis.

More to the point, the patent is directed to nucleic acid molecules that code for the LAG525 antibody, to expression vectors and host cells that comprise these nucleic acids, and to methods of producing the LAG525 antibody by culturing the host cells of the invention.

The application originally was filed as a second divisional application. Also, this grant follows the grant of the first divisional application, which was announced in March 2018. The patent is co-owned by Novartis and Immutep, and it will expire in March 2035.

Some quick background: This antagonist antibody (LAG-3) plays a role in controlling the signaling pathways in both effector T cells and regulatory T cells. The antibody works to both activate effector T cells and inhibit regulatory T cell function that normally prevent T cells from responding to antigen stimulation.

Immutep stock traded up about 65% to $1.82 on Wednesday, in a 52-week range of $0.53 to $3.10. The consensus price target is $5.01.