What’s the value of a complete response in a cancer patient? $1.5bn, apparently, if yesterday’s 249% surge in Nextcure shares is anything to go by. The recently listed US biotech’s lead asset, NC-318, was already known to have resulted in one partial response in a PD-1-refractory lung cancer subject, and yesterday’s unveiling of abstracts for the upcoming SITC (Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer) meeting revealed a vital update: the partial remission had progressed to a complete one, and a second partial remission was reported. Leerink analysts said the stock movement showed the thirst for single-agent activity, and as luck would have it the 180-day lock-up on Nextcure’s pre-IPO stock expired on November 4, a day before the abstracts were unveiled, meaning that the hitherto thinly traded company suddenly had a larger free float. NC-318 is an antibody against Siglec-15, which is thought to be upregulated on cancer cells and tumour-infiltrating myeloid cells; Daiichi Sankyo and Alethia are known to have worked on similar approaches. In Nextcure’s study 32 of 43 subjects with various tumours are evaluable, but the responses both came from seven NSCLC patients. Nextcure is now capitalised at $2.1bn, and has apparently won SITC by a walkover.
|NC318||Nextcure||Phase I study in treatment-refractory solid tumours|
|DS-1501||Daiichi Sankyo||Last reported in 2016 R&D pipeline, with possible use in osteoporosis|
|AB-25E9||Alethia Biotherapeutics||Reported in 2015 to have potential in cancer-related bone loss|
|Source: EvaluatePharma & company filings.|