Galena Biopharma Inc (GALE): Improving Cancer Vaccines for the Future

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There are some vaccine companies that have game changing technologies to target different types of cancer. One such company looking to improve upon cancer vaccines, is a small cap biotech company known as Galena Biopharma Inc (NASDAQ:GALE). The company has many types of vaccine candidates in its pipeline, and is currently in one phase 3 study for breast cancer. The vaccine candidate to treat breast cancer is called NeuVax.

The company’s market cap is at $205.4 million and for a company that has its Neuvax Vaccine currently in a phase 3 trial I think it is still pretty cheap. The stock price is currently around $2.81 per share, and like many small cap biotech stocks it is still very risky. Although I believe that Galena has a huge vaccine on its hands, and if it plays out the stock will pop up big.

Market Opportunity

The breast cancer market will be a huge opportunity if Galena Biopharma Inc (NASDAQ:GALE) can perfect its vaccine. The breast cancer market is expected to reach $10.2 billion dollars worldwide by the year 2019. There is a drawback however, GALE only targets the patients who are classified as HER2-Negative. Meaning patients who can achieve remission on standard of care, but have no vaccine therapy to keep them disease free afterwards.

Still if Galena Biopharma Inc (NASDAQ:GALE) is successful the company will be valued in the billions. There are about 232,340 breast cancer cases each year, and from that around 39,620 people die from it each year.  So for a vaccine company like Gale to be able to treat the other portion of the population that can’t be treated with Herceptin, would be huge opportunity. Another alarming statistic going forward is that 1 in 8 U.S. women, or 12% will develop breast cancer over their lifetimes.

Results that Count

In the Neuvax phase 2 trial, 187 patients were enrolled in the vaccine study. The 108 patients in the trial received the Neuvax vaccine from Galena Biopharma Inc (NASDAQ:GALE), and the control group received standard of care only.  Upon a 60 month median follow up, it was shown that the patients who took Neuvax experienced a 10.6% recurrence rate. This compares better to the control group only having a recurrence rate of 20.3%.

The fact is that Neuvax has shown promising results in that phase 2 study follow up, and is now currently in its phase three trial. The company has also recently acquired an FDA approved drug named “Abstral” from Orexo AB pharma in Sweden. Abstral is used for patients that have severe pain with cancer. The good part about Galena Biopharma Inc (NASDAQ:GALE) acquiring this drug is that it will minimize its risk of having to dilute the stock in the future for cash. Which is why I maintain that the stock value should be higher than its current price. The company now has enough cash to run its trials until 2014, so it may be awhile until it burns through its current cash.

Vical Incorporated (NASDAQ:VICL)‘s Allovectin

It seems that there are many other competitors in the cancer vaccine space. Vical Incorporated (NASDAQ:VICL) is another small cap biotech stock looking to conquer cancer with its vaccine pipeline. Vical Incorporated (NASDAQ:VICL) is currently in phase 3 testing for a skin cancer known as Melanoma. Allovectin has been indicated to treat stage 3, and stage 4 Melanoma. The company is looking for Allovectin to be first-line treatment for melanoma patients. The company thinks that Allovectin can become more efficacious than all other current first line treatments for this indication.

The company trades at a Market cap of $317.6 million, and the results may come out by late 2013. Vical trades currently at $3.46 per share, which is off of its 52 week high of $4.74. I still consider this stock as a risk like all other small cap biotech stocks, but like Galena Biopharma Inc (NASDAQ:GALE) this is also in a phase 3 study. If all goes well the company will make a lot of profit for investors. The reason being, is that the Melanoma cancer market will reach $1.15 billion by 2015.

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