Pfizer Inc. (PFE), Sanofi SA (ADR) (SNY), Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ONXX): Will ASCO Unlock Big Value in This Cancer Drug Class?

Page 1 of 2

There’s little denying that Roche Holding Ltd. (ADR) (OTCBB:RHHBY)‘s cancer wonder drug Avastin has been a godsend to cancer patients and investors alike.

Avastin — which the Food and Drug Administration has approved to treat metastatic colorectal cancer (as a first-line and second-line treatment), metastatic HER2-negative breast cancer, and metastatic renal cell carcinoma, and as a second-line treatment of glioblastoma — brought in $5.8 billion in sales worldwide in 2012, up 6% from the previous year. Avastin is part of a class of drugs known as angiogenic inhibitors. Simply put, these drugs bind to receptors often linked to blood vessel growth. By inhibiting blood vessel growth, drugs like Avastin help starve solid tumors of the nutrients they need to grow. Avastin, for instance, works by binding to VEGF-receptors to inhibit blood vessel growth to solid tumors.

The marvel of angiogenic inhibitors
Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc.The interesting aspect of angiogenic inhibitors — other than that they’ve been shown to increase progression-free survival in many cancer trials — is that they usually have wide-ranging appeal across a number of cancer types instead of working for just one type of cancer. Take Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ONXX) and Bayer‘s Nexavar, which also works as a VEGR inhibitor and is approved to treat advanced renal cell carcinoma and unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma. Nexavar has also shown progress in late-stage trials for metastatic thyroid cancer.

Also, because angiogenic inhibitors don’t directly kill tumors or surrounding tissue, and instead simply inhibit blood vessel formation, they can be used for long periods of time compared with standard chemotherapy, which often leads to intolerable toxicity.

This is why, with the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting just two weeks away, it’s time to put angiogenic inhibitors on your radar. ASCO’s annual meeting is the holy grail of scientific conferences for oncology-based biotech and pharmaceutical companies, and it should give us a good indication of what’s working and what isn’t within certain drug classes. As for me, I’ll certainly have my eye on some early stage anti-angiogenesis drugs.

What to watch at ASCO
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc
(NASDAQ:REGN), perhaps best known for its highly successful wet age-related macular degeneration drug Eylea, released two promising abstracts for ASCO on monoclonal antibodies with potential anti-angiogenic effects.

A phase 1 study of REGN421, a monoclonal antibody to delta-like-ligand 4 (DLL4), in combination with SAR153193 from Sanofi SA (ADR) (NYSE:SNY), which Regeneron has partnered with, concluded the combination to be safe despite a relative high level of grade 3/4 adverse events, and noted that responses and prolonged stable disease were witnessed in ovarian cancer patients.

The other abstract involves Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:REGN)’s REGN910 and Sanofi SA (ADR) (NYSE:SNY)’s SAR307746. This is a fully human and selective angiopoietin-2 monoclonal antibody that blocks signaling in the Tie2 receptors and has the potential to help patients with advanced solid tumors. Of particular interest, no grade 3 or above adverse events were noted among 37 patients, and one thyroid cancer patient was observed as having stable disease for 46 weeks. It certainly appears to be a good candidate to move to phase 2 trials, and one that could benefit as a combination therapy with existing chemotherapy agents.

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) is also getting in the action with its phase 1b trial of CVX-060 in combination Inlyta, with its FDA-approved drug. Inlyta is a VEGF-inhibitor approved as a second-line treatment for metastatic renal cell carcinoma, while CVX-060 is a humanized monoclonal antibody fused to angiopoietin-2 binding peptides. The thinking is that the resistance to VEGF therapies that tumors develop can be overcome by these angiopoietin-2 binding peptides. Of the 18 patients in trial, two had a partial response and one an unconfirmed partial response. However, higher-than-expected treatment-related thromboembolic events were a cause for concern that may require further dosing studies before even considering a move on to phase 2 studies.

Page 1 of 2
blog comments powered by Disqus
Insider Monkey Headlines
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy

Insider Monkey beat the market by 52 percentage points in 24 months Click to see monthly returns in table format!

Lists

10 Most Influential Papers In Economics

Top 8 Biggest Charities in the US

10 Worst Celebrity Career Moves Ever

Top 10 Best Paid Tennis Stars in the World

10 Cities with High Demand for Nurses

6 of the Worst Greeting Card Messages Ever Crafted

6 Ways to Make Money in ArcheAge and Build Your Empire

10 Foods To Eat To Lower Cholesterol Levels

The 10 Most Hated Television Characters of All Time

The 30 Worst Halloween Costume Ideas Ever Brought to Horrible Life

10 Vocational Skills in Demand Today with Jobs Waiting to be Filled

10 Best Places to Visit in Central and South America

The 10 Greatest Empires in History Which Nearly Conquered the World

The 6 Cheapest Boarding Schools In America 2015

5 Clear Reasons LoL is Better than DotA, Continues to Rule MOBAs

The Only 9 Teams with a Chance to Win the Super Bowl

The 15 Most Common Phobias in America that Induce Fits of Panic

Top 6 Least Expensive Tourist Destinations in 2014

Jim Goetz, Peter Fenton, Jim Breyer: Top 6 Venture Investors for 2014

Top 15 Billionaires in 2014

5 Pitfalls To Avoid When Buying a Franchise

Top 20 Medical Schools in the US – 2014 Rankings

4 Business Strategies that Turned Jamie Oliver into the World’s Richest Chef

6 Qualities That Make You A Good Team Player

10 High Paying Seasonal Jobs in America this Holiday Season

The 10 Busiest Shipping Lanes in the World

5 Most Valuable Brands in China

The 10 States with Highest Substance Abuse Rates Crippling Their Populace

The Top 10 Things to Do Before You Die That Will Echo for Eternity

The 10 Best Selling Items on Etsy

Top 10 Things to Do in Tokyo, the Greatest City in the World

10 Mistakes on Social Media that Can Harm You and Will Probably Get You Canned

The 10 Best Cities to Find Jobs in 2014

The 10 Most Controversial Songs Of All Time to Hit (and get Banned from) the Airwaves

The 20 Biggest IPOs in US History

The 10 Best Places to Visit in Mexico that Are Beautiful and Safe

7 Bad Habits that Age You Beyond Your Years

The 40 Best Fortune Cookie Sayings That Will Leave You Bemused, Befuddled, or Beguiled

10 Foods to Eat Before a Workout to Make Every Drop of Sweat Count

The 5 Best Documentaries On Netflix You Must See

The Most Heartwarming and Inspirational Story Of This Halloween Season, It Will Make You Cry and Jump For Joy

10 Best Party Songs of All Time to Bring the House Down With

5 New World Order Conspiracy Theories that Will Strangle the World

The 10 Highest Rated Movies of 2014

The 10 Largest Container Shipping Companies in the World

The 10 Largest Armies in the World: Who Should We Be Afraid Of?

Best Warren Buffett Quotes on Money You Need to Hear

The 10 Highest Suicide Rates by Profession

The 20 Most Underrated Movies of All Time

The 10 Fastest Growing Companies in America

Subscribe

Enter your email:

Delivered by FeedBurner

X

Thanks! An email with instructions is sent to !

Your email already exists in our database. Click here to go to your subscriptions

Insider Monkey returned 47.6% in its first year! Wondering How?

Download a complete edition of our newsletter for free!