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Biotech to Take Novel Cancer Drug to Market in H1/22

Source: Streetwise Reports

March 1, 2022 (Investorideas.com Newswire) This biotech company is commercializing its lead drug candidate, Kimmtrak, has a catalyst-rich 2022, and has various clinical-stage drugs for cancers and autoimmune and infectious diseases.


Immunocore Holdings Plc. (IMCR:NASDAQ) plans to commercially launch Kimmtrak (tebentafusp) as early as this quarter or next. In addition, a handful of other catalysts are on track to happen this year, and the company has other clinical programs underway.

"Immunocore's long-term pipeline potential in solid tumor indications provides a favorable risk-reward in current shares, coupled with the potential for the commercialization of Kimmtrak in the treatment of metastatic uveal melanoma in 2022," wrote Oppenheimer analyst Justin Kim in a Jan. 26 report.

Oppeneheimer rates the stock Outperform and has a $56 per share price target on it. Immunocore's current share price is about $25.

Early Approval, Unmet Need

This England-headquartered biotech is developing a class of T cell receptor (TCR) bispecific immunotherapies for treatment of a wide array of diseases, including cancers and autoimmune, infectious (hepatitis B and human immunodeficiency virus [HIV]) and other diseases, such as diabetes.

The biotech is on the verge of commercializing its most advanced drug candidate, Kimmtrak, for the treatment of unresectable or metastatic uveal melanoma, an eye cancer.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just approved Kimmtrak in late January, making it the first TCR immunotherapeutic to garner regulatory approval. This validates Immunocore's ImmTAC, or Immune Mobilizing Monoclonal TCRs Against Cancer, platform, designed to redirect and spur T cells to identify and kill cancer cells. Kimmtrak specifically targets gp100, an antigen expressed in melanocytes and melanomas.

Given their mechanism of action, ImmTAC molecules could tackle many types of tumors, including hematologic and solid, regardless of mutational burden or pre-existing immune infiltration.

"The FDA's expeditious approval, one month early, in our view, underscores the unmet need and compelling clinical risk/benefit that Kimmtrak offers for this ultraorphan cancer," Kim commented.

To date, no treatment has existed for this rare but fatal eye cancer. The U.S. sees about 1,670 new cases of uveal melanoma per year. About half of the people who have it eventually develop metastatic disease, and those whose cancer has spread generally die from it within a year's time.

However, Kimmtrak, in clinical trials, demonstrated a statistically and clinically meaningful overall survival (OS) benefit, a hazard ratio of 0.51 and a median OS of almost 22 months.

Taking Kimmtrak Global

The commercial opportunity for Kimmtrak is "nontrivial," Kim noted. The U.S. alone contains about 400 addressable patients, and the median price of treating each patient with Kimmtrak is about $430,000. Immunocore developed and is employing a targeted strategy for reaching those patients, aiming for a 75% success rate to start.

Further, Immunocore intends to commercialize Kimmtrak worldwide and has submitted a marketing authorization application to several agencies. They include Health Canada, the European Medicines Agency, the United Kingdom's Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency, and Australia's Department of Health Therapeutic Goods Administration. The biotech expects a decision from the EMA's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use soon.

Immunocore launched a global early access program for Kimmtrak, in which 200 patients in 13 countries already signed up.

"We believe the opportunity could see upside from a strong adoption of the product and potential extended duration of use," wrote Kim.

Many Catalysts on the Horizon

Along with Kimmtrak, the spotlight will also be on two of Immunocore's earlier stage therapeutics this year. One is IMC-F106C, targeting the tumor-associated antigen PRAME. The other is IMC-C103C, targeting the MAGE-A4 gene and being developed with partner Genentech.

In mid-2022, Phase 1 data are expected from the trial of IMC-F106C in small cell lung, nonsmall cell lung, breast, endometrial and ovarian cancers and melanomas.

Readout of Phase 1 data from another study is anticipated in H2/22. Results will be from the slightly more advanced study of IMC-C103C in nonsmall cell lung, small cell lung, head and neck, gastric and ovarian cancers and synovial sarcoma.

"While focus for shares may shift to (or even remain on) the earlier pipeline (MAGE-A4/PRAME), we would not discount the potential for the [Kimmtrak] drug launch to see acceleration to our current timelines, given the high unmet need and benefit of this first approved agent for the indication," Kim wrote. "With Kimmtrak potentially becoming the tip of the spear, we stay bullish."

Two other potential stock moving events slated for this year are the initial dosing in Q2/22 of IMC-M113V in the upcoming HIV trial and start of a randomized study in Q4/22 of Kimmtrak in cutaneous melanoma.

Big Name Collaborators

Also of note, Immunocore is not going it alone in developing new therapies. Rather, it has partnerships with some big players. On the oncology front, partners are GlaxoSmithKline, Genentech, and Eli Lilly. Agreements with the latter two also include new drug copromotion.

Regarding Immunocore's HIV program, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is supporting the development of ImmTAV/ImmTAB (Immune‐Mobilizing Monoclonal TCRs Against Virus or Bacteria) molecules as potential treatments.

Immunocore also is partnering with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation on the biotech's type 1 diabetes program.

"As 2022 unfolds, we expect greater focus on Immunocore, clearing a favorable regulatory binary event and approaching a series of early but increasingly meaningful clinical catalysts with MAGE-A4 and PRAME," wrote Kim.

Disclosures

1) Doresa Banning compiled this article for Streetwise Reports LLC and provides services to Streetwise Reports as an independent contractor. She or members of her household own securities of the following companies mentioned in the article: None. She or members of her household are paid by the following companies mentioned in this article: None.

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3) Comments and opinions expressed are those of the specific experts and not of Streetwise Reports or its officers. The information provided above is for informational purposes only and is not a recommendation to buy or sell any security.

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6) This article does not constitute medical advice. Officers, employees and contributors to Streetwise Reports are not licensed medical professionals. Readers should always contact their healthcare professionals for medical advice.

Oppenheimer Report Disclosures, January 26, 2022:

Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. does and seeks to do business with companies covered in its research reports. As a result, investors should be aware that the firm may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of this report. Investors should consider this report as only a single factor in making their investment decision.

Analyst Certification - The author certifies that this research report accurately states his/her personal views about the subject securities, which are reflected in the ratings as well as in the substance of this report. The author certifies that no part of his/her compensation was, is, or will be directly or indirectly related to the specific recommendations or views contained in this research report.

Potential Conflicts of Interest:

Equity research analysts employed by Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. are compensated from revenues generated by the firm including the Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. Investment Banking Department. Research analysts do not receive compensation based upon revenues from specific investment banking transactions. Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. generally prohibits any research analyst and any member of his or her household from executing trades in the securities of a company that such research analyst covers. Additionally, Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. generally prohibits any research analyst from serving as an officer, director or advisory board member of a company that such analyst covers. In addition to 1% ownership positions in covered companies that are required to be specifically disclosed in this report, Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. may have a long position of less than 1% or a short position or deal as principal in the securities discussed herein, related securities or in options, futures or other derivative instruments based thereon. Recipients of this report are advised that any or all of the foregoing arrangements, as well as more specific disclosures set forth below, may at times give rise to potential conflicts of interest.

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