Ash 2022 movers – Glycomimetics shakes off its sickle cell past

Meanwhile, there was bad blood between cell therapy players and their investors.

As the dust settles on an Ash meeting that threatened to be overshadowed by sightings of Taylor Swift, which companies had a conference beyond their wildest dreams, and which still have a way to go to get out of the woods?

Evaluate Vantage’s annual look at the winners and losers of the meeting show the small cap player Glycomimetics making a comeback, while lentiviral vector-based gene therapies are also having a resurgence courtesy of Bluebird and Rocket. On the other side of the ledger, many cell therapy players floundered, and promising early sickle cell data were not enough to save Sangamo.

This analysis compares share prices at market opening on November 3, when non-late-breaking Ash abstracts went live, against close yesterday, the meeting’s official last day.

Glycomimetics returns

Three years ago Glycomimetics’ then-lead project, rivipansel, failed in sickle cell disease. That development saw the group pivot to uproleselan, an E-selectin inhibitor, and Ash posters revealed this to yield a 62% ORR in secondary AML, while in front-line AML an azacytidine plus Venclexta combo put five of eight subjects into complete remission.

Gycomimetics’ 207% gain makes this company the clear winner looking over the entire Ash period, though another micro-cap player, Harpoon Therapeutics, also saw some success. Harpoon was at one point up 100% on Monday on data showing a 77% ORR in multiple myeloma patients given the highest doses of its anti-BCMA trispecific HPN217, but the stock ended the day up only 22%, crashed 37% the next day, and ended up just 7% over the period.

Arcellx will also be celebrating a successful meeting; that group’s move was ultimately down to its deal with Gilead on Friday, though this was spurred by data being presented at Ash.

Meanwhile, Bluebird investors will hope that a positive safety update on lovo-cel in sickle cell disease will bode well for that project’s regulatory future. Rocket was also flying the flag for lentiviral-based gene therapies with updates on three programmes, but data were largely incremental.

In the CD20-targeting bispecific space, Genmab and Abbvie’s epcoritamab still looks like the one to beat, although Xencor had early data showing its contender, plamotamab, could be as good as Roche’s glofitamab.

And Beigene was rewarded by investors for a late-breaker on its BTK inhibitor Brukinsa in chronic lymphoblastic leukaemia. This space could soon be shaken up soon by Lilly’s non-covalent project pirtobrutinib; stellar data raised questions about how Nurix’s BTK degrader NX-2127 might fit in, and the latter’s stock fell 4% over the Ash period.

Selected Ash 2022 risers
Company Share price chg* Detail
Glycomimetics 207% Uproleselan (E-selectin inhibitor); 62% ORR in secondary AML
Arcellx 40% Arcellx data secure a Gilead buy-in
Bluebird 30% The sickle cell race hots up
Rocket 19% Ash 2022 preview – Argenx’s expansion plans come into focus
Aptose 18% Ash 2022 preview – Affimed and Aptose score
Beigene 17% Ash 2022 preview – Brukinsa has the edge over Calquence
Genmab 9% Multiple datasets on epcoritamab 
In8bio 9% INB-100 (gamma-delta T-cell therapy); 4/4 CRs in ph1 cohort 1 in AML
Syndax 8% Syndax and Kura face off
Harpoon 7% HPN217 (anti-BCMA trispecific); 77% ORR in multiple myeloma
Xencor 4% Toxicity still looms large for Regeneron’s bispecific
Argenx 3% Argenx faces Vyvgart questions
*December 13 close vs November 2 close.

Meanwhile, Ash fallers were led by Adicet, which became the latest allogeneic cell therapy player to be hit by the problem of patient relapses. An identical problem hit Caribou, though its data were actually presented at an investor event rather than at Ash.

Also hit with relapse problems was Affimed, which turned an initial surge triggered by its Ash abstract into an overall fall on the data, as questions were raised about the durability of its NK-cell engager AFM13 and about how data from an academic study would translate into a more robust, company-sponsored effort.

Among other allogeneic cell therapy disappointments, Allogene fell after a low-key Ash presence, for which it tried to make up by hosting a late November R&D day of little consequence. Ash saw clinical data for its BCMA-targeting Car-T therapy, which put up a seemingly uncompetitive ORR of 68%, with many responders relapsing.

Fate also reported disappointing multiple myeloma data with a BCMA-targeting project, namely with the iPSC-derived Car-NK therapy FT576. This managed just two partial responses, one among six monotherapy subjects and the other in a cohort of three patients on a Darzalex combo. And the menin inhibitor battle ended with a win for Syndax and a loss for Kura, though in reality both companies face opportunities and threats.

As usual the Ash weekend ended with a selloff, though the presence of many risers and an uptick in deal-making should give investors some confidence as the 2023 JP Morgan healthcare conference looms. Will Taylor Swift be sighted at the Westin St Francis in January? Watch this (blank) space.

Selected Ash 2022 fallers
Company Share price chg* Detail
Adicet -37% Adicet has a case of déjà vu
Affimed -29% Affimed feels the pain
Gracell -25% Fast production fails to cure Car-T's problem
Allogene -21% ALLO-715 efficacy underwhelming
Fate -18% FT576 efficacy underwhelming
Sangamo -18% The sickle cell race hots up
Magenta  -14% MGTA-117 data
Caribou -13% Antler trial update (not at Ash) revealed another patient relapsed on CB-010
Kura -12% Syndax and Kura face off
Immunogen -7% 38% ORR at ph2 pivekimab sunirine dose, but durability seems underwhelming
Nurix -4% Pirtobrutinib leads the post-Imbruvica charge
Orchard -2% Orchard gets a Sanfilippo boost
*December 13 close vs November 2 close.

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