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Cancer treatment is an ever-evolving business, with many potential breakthroughs and blockbusters being developed by small companies on any given day. Shareholders who are hoping to tag along as part of either an historical FDA approval or an historical share price run are always on the lookout for the next big 'mover and shaker'.

Here's five companies in the cancer sector that shouldn't be overlooked:

IMUC: Shares of Immunocellular Therapeutics may very well be trading under the radar, even after having tripled in price during the past year on positive pipeline news. On light volume, shares dipped below the $1.90 mark on Tuesday, leaving the company with a market cap of $55 million. That cap is worth making note of, given the potential of the Immunocellular pipeline of immunotherapeutic cancer treatments.

The technology behind the IMUC pipeline takes the science behind Dendreon's (DNDN) Provenge a step further.

By targeting the stem cells that lead to the spreading of a patient's cancer, Immunocellular may very well be priming itself to usher in the new age of cancer treatment.

The most advanced product, ICT-107, has thus far been proven to be highly effective in treating glioblastoma, and was recently featured on a CBS News broadcast in New York City.

It's expected that the company will look to be listed on a major exchange at some point in the near future, where it may draw more attention as a potential big player in the cancer immunotherapy market with a pipeline being readied to treat multiple cancer types.

Keep an eye on this one.

Disclosure: No position.

AGEN: A recent makeover left the former Antigenics and lead product Oncophage known as Agenus and Prophage, respectively. Prophage is being investigated in Phase II trials for the treatment of glioma.

Three years ago this company was the first to have an immunotherapeutic cancer vaccine approved, when Russia approved Oncophage for use against kidney cancer in Russia. That approval never materialized into sales and a denial in Europe sent shares of AGEN spiraling down from its highs to level where it now trades, for under a buck.

After a long lull in relevant news, AGEN has again been making headlines.

Early results from the Phase II glioma trial indicate that those treated with Prophage are demonstrating increased overall survival, which is now the golden standard for cancer immunotherapy trials ever since Dendreon made that the goal of the Provenge Phase III.

In addition to the positive Prophage news, it was announced this week that AGEN's vaccine adjuvant, QS-21 Stimulon, was the subject of a licensing agreement with Integrated BioTherapeutics Inc. (IBT) for use in the development of a vaccine against Ebola and Marburg viruses.

Per the agreement, Agenus will receive a licensing fee, potential milestone payments, and a royalty on sales of the product, should it be approved.

QS-21 is currently being used in 15 developmental vaccines and gives AGEN a potential revenue stream outside of Prophage.

While shares jumped modestly on the Stimulon news, they're still down on the year.

Worth watch-listing.

Disclosure: Long AGEN.

DNDN: There's no doubt that Dendreon (DNDN) is already a huge winner as having received the first FDA approval for a cancer vaccine with Provenge last year, but that doesn't mean that all the gains in share price have been had; there's still more to come from this soon-to-be powerhouse.

DNDN has dipped to below the forty dollar mark as the market as a whole has pulled back recently, but the third and fourth quarters are when the company expects to ramp-up production enough to start making a dent in the large backlog of demand for Provenge.

The FDA approved additional manufacturing stations in Dendreon's New Jersey facility earlier this year, and it's expected that work station approval at the Los Angeles manufacturing facility will be announced at the end of this month, with approval at the Atlanta facility following shortly thereafter.

It's still very much a Golden Age for Dendreon, now the grand-daddy of cancer immunotherapy companies, but the share price gains are probably not over.

As the work-station and full-site manufacturing facilities come on-line later in the year - assuming FDA approval - the DNDN train might start chugging forward once again.

Disclosure: No position.

CYTR: Already a stock to watch due to a solid pipeline of cancer treating products, CytRx Corporation (CYTR) issued a Monday morning press release announcing positive preliminary results from its ongoing ENABLE Phase 2 proof-of-concept trial for bafetinib in the treatment of relapsed or refractory B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL).

According to Monday's PR, bafetinib has so far proven to be "clinically active" in patients who have failed to respond to previous treatments, an encouraging indicator that only strengthens the future potential of this company and its treatments.

Eleven of the sixteen patients enrolled were eligible for preliminary evaluation, with a total of thirty patients expected to be enrolled in in the trial.

Due to the positive preliminary results and low instances of adverse effects, future patients enrolled in the trial will receive a higher dosage, which effectively increases the chances of even greater results as the trial progresses.

CytRx CEO Steven A. Kriegsman, commenting on this important milestone for the company, stated that “These favorable initial Phase 2 clinical trial results of bafetinib’s activity and safety mark an important step in our goal to become a leading oncology therapeutics company. Further, we were able to obtain these results quickly after initiating enrollment in this clinical trial, validating our strategy to rapidly and cost-effectively conduct proof-of-concept trials in patients with advanced-stage cancers prior to moving into larger clinical trials.”

In addition to the positive developments on the pipeline front, it's also encouraging for investors that management has, thus far, followed through on its plans and promises. While marching forward with the aforementioned strategy of conducting cost-effective proof-of-concept trials before moving into more widespread trials, the company has also been very successful at finding non-dilutive conditions of financing.

CYTR issued a press release last month announcing the sale of the worldwide rights for its molecular chaperone assets to the privately-held Orphazyme ApS, based in Copenhagen, Denmark. This deal, should all milestones be met, could be worth up to $120 million to the company, in addition to the royalties on sales that CytRx would receive should Orphazyme bring any products utilizing the technology to market.

Management also banked $17 million for the company through the sale of RXII stock and
CytRx also received 163,000 shares of ANX in exchange for its 19.1% stake in SynthRx.

Bafetinib, in addition to the ongoing ENCORE trial, is also being investigated for use in treating prostate and brain cancers. Should these encouraging results continue as the products move into Phase III, then CYTR shares would have some room to appreciate in value fairly significantly.

Given the positive developments from the pipeline and pattern of non-dilutive financing, it's well worth keeping an eye on this company.

Disclosure: No position.

KERX: Keryx Pharmaceuticals (KERX) makes the list for its experimental Perifisone treatment, which is currently engaged in Phase III trials as an anti-cancer agent. The company also has Zerenex in Phase III for the treatment of kidney disease.

Both products have been successful thus far in trials, and although still trading off its 52-week highs, KERX is demonstration of the leaps-and-bounds a company's stock can make as it shifts from Phase II to Phase III trials.

It wasn't that long ago when KERX, then a 'Phase II' company, was trading for right around a dollar before trial results started rolling in. Those results were positive, Phase III trials were initiated fairly quickly, and now we're looking at a five dollar stock.

Shares have dipped below that mark recently, but another move higher could be in order during the lead-in to Phase III results.

Already a big winner, there might be more to come from KERX.

Disclosure: No position.

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