Shares of tiny San Diego-based OncoSec Medical ignited Wednesday morning when the microcap biotech reported that its lead drug produced promising Phase II melanoma data.
Researchers for the company say that a combination of their drug, ImmunoPulse IL-12, plus Keytruda (pembrolizumab) produced a 57% progression free response rate at 15 months among a small group of patients who were deemed “unlikely” to respond to a PD-1. They say there was a 100% (11/11) duration of response with no median PFS rate yet determined. And that builds on an earlier mark of a 41% complete response rate, which would be impressive if it continues to hold up.
OncoSec, which started the day with a market cap of only $37 million, saw its shares $ONCS rocket up 43% as word spread.
The strategy here is to take patients resistant to checkpoint therapy and match up an innate and adaptive immune system combo that can mount a more effective fight against cancer. Their drug is designed to trigger the expression of IL-12 in the tumor microenvironment, driving an immune attack while the checkpoint takes the brakes off immune cells.
The data — which arrive the day after biotech exec Daniel O’Connor was named CEO — will be detailed at the SITC meeting coming up this weekend.
“Overall, the Phase 2 trial results, including progression free survival beyond two years in multiple patients, duration of response, best overall response rate, and tolerability of the combination, provide a strong and consistent theme across multiple endpoints, underscoring the promise of ImmunoPulse IL-12 plus pembrolizumab as a viable treatment option for patients diagnosed with metastatic melanoma,” said Alain Algazi, the lead investigator.
The best place to read Endpoints News? In your inbox.
Comprehensive daily news report for those who discover, develop, and market drugs. Join 50,700+ biopharma pros who read Endpoints News by email every day.Free Subscription