Large pharmaceutical companies are increasingly investing in cancer treatment stocks, driven by the promise of medical breakthroughs and financial rewards. Eli Lilly became the latest Big Pharma giant to enter the oncology race with its $1.4 billion acquisition of Point Biopharma Global, a company specializing in precise radioligand therapies for cancer. Earlier this year, Pfizer made headlines with its $43 billion acquisition of biotech company Seagen, bolstering its oncology portfolio with four approved cancer therapies. Amgen recently acquired Horizon Therapeutics for $27.8 billion. These multi-billion dollar deals underscore the rising demand for new innovative cancer treatments, creating a growing opportunity from oncology companies like Defence Therapeutics Inc. (CSE:DTC) (OTC:DTCFF), MacroGenics, Inc. (NASDAQ:MGNX), Iovance Biotherapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:IOVA), Mirati Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:MRTX), and Mersana Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:MRSN).
Defence Therapeutics Inc. (CSE:DTC) (OTC:DTCFF) is dedicated to advancing the development of next-generation vaccines and Antibody-Drug Conjugate (ADC) products using its distinctive proprietary platform.
At the core of Defence Therapeutics‘ platform is the revolutionary Accum® technology, which enables precise delivery of vaccine antigens or Antibody-Drug Conjugates (ADCs) to specific target cells while preserving their integrity. This breakthrough technology significantly enhances the effectiveness and potency of treatments for severe conditions like cancer and infectious diseases.
On October 10, Defence Therapeutics unveiled a groundbreaking peer-reviewed study in the esteemed journal, Cancer Science, showcasing the anticancer capabilities of its product, unconjugated Accum®. Designed specifically for treating established T-cell lymphoma, Accum® stands out in cancer research for its unique design, versatility, and the potential to address various cancer types.
The study revealed that Accum® initiates the death of various cancer cell lines, spanning T-cell lymphoma, colon, melanoma, and breast cancers. Additionally, Accum® prompts the internal production of reactive oxygen species and disrupts endosomal membranes within the cancer cells. Upon exposure to Accum®, these cancer cells undergo a process termed “immunogenic cell death.” The study further emphasizes the critical role of immune T cells, CD4 and CD8, in enhancing the efficiency of Accum®. Notably, when Accum® is directly administered to tumors, it synergizes with prevalent immune-checkpoint inhibitors, leading to a significant control over tumor growth.
Dr. Rafei, Defence Therapeutics’ Chief Scientific Officer, emphasized that Accum® combats cancer cells by both initiating cell death and activating the immune system. He noted the promising approach of Accum® in transitioning a tumor from “cold” to “hot”, as demonstrated in their latest findings.
“This prestigious peer-reviewed publication provides an important validation of the antitumoral properties of unconjugated Accum®,” said Sebastien Plouffe, President and CEO of Defence Therapeutics. “It also opens up a new line of investigation where more potent Accum® variants could be tested as an anti-cancer injectable.”
Biopharma Companies Advancing Research on Cancer Treatments
MacroGenics, Inc. (NASDAQ:MGNX), a biopharmaceutical company specializing in cancer treatment through innovative antibody-based therapeutics, announced Gilead Sciences, Inc. nominated the first of two research programs using MacroGenics’ DART® and TRIDENT® platforms to create bispecific antibodies. Upon reaching a specified preclinical milestone, Gilead gains exclusive worldwide licensing rights. In line with their October 2022 agreement, Gilead will provide $15 million for the nominated bispecific research program led by MacroGenics. The agreement covers MGD024, a CD123 and CD3-binding bispecific antibody using the DART platform, and up to two more research programs. MacroGenics stands to receive up to $1.7 billion in various fees and royalties.
Iovance Biotherapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:IOVA), a biotech company specializing in polyclonal tumor infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) therapies for cancer patients, will present clinical data and trial designs for TIL therapies at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer’s 38th Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA, from November 1-5, 2023. The posters include: lifileucel TIL therapy’s 4-year analysis in advanced melanoma (C-144-01 study), TILs with IL-12 exhibit superior antitumor activity in vitro, and TILVANCE-301 phase 3 study of lifileucel TIL therapy with pembrolizumab vs. pembrolizumab alone in melanoma.
Sanofi, the French pharmaceutical company, is considering acquiring cancer drugmaker Mirati Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:MRTX). This potential deal comes as Mirati introduces its first product, the lung-cancer drug Krazati, resulting in a 45% surge in the San Diego-based company’s shares, valuing it at $4.2 billion. Acquiring Mirati would enhance Sanofi’s drug pipeline, reducing its reliance on Dupixent, a blockbuster asthma medication. Sanofi’s support would aid in Krazati’s commercialization, particularly as a second-line treatment for KRAS-mutated lung cancer. While the FDA granted accelerated approval for the drug, European regulators have yet to endorse it.
Mersana Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:MRSN), a biopharmaceutical company focusing on antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) for challenging cancers, announced that the UPLIFT clinical trial of upifitamab rilsodotin (UpRi) failed to meet its primary endpoint. UpRi, an ADC targeting the NaPi2b protein, was developed using the Dolaflexin platform. UPLIFT, a single-arm trial for platinum-resistant ovarian cancer patients, aimed to assess the objective response rate (ORR) in NaPi2b-positive individuals (TPS ≥75%). Secondary endpoints included ORR for all patients, response duration (DOR), and safety. The trial also assessed ORR and DOR independently. 268 patients were enrolled, 141 NaPi2b-positive. Most had three prior therapies, with many receiving bevacizumab and PARP inhibitors.
Defence Therapeutics Inc. (CSE:DTC) (OTC:DTCFF) achieved an initial milestone in its collaboration with Orano to develop advanced radio-immunoconjugates, aiming for safer and more effective cancer therapies.
Featured Image MegaPixl @Angellodeco
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