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

Top 15 Best Paying Jobs for Women in 2014

Top 6 Things Rich People Do Differently Every Day

5 Retirement Mistakes To Avoid (and Einstein’s Famous Quote)

11 Smartest People in the World

6 Films About the Financial World You Need To Watch (While “The Wolf” is Not Around)

Warren Buffett and Billionaires Are Crazy About These 7 Stocks

The Top 10 States With Fastest Internet Speeds

10 Best Places to Visit in USA in August

Top 10 Cities to Visit Before You Die

Top 10 Genetically Modified Food In the US

15 Highest Grossing Movies Opening Weekend

5 Best Poker Books For Beginners

10 Strategies Hedge Funds Use to Make Huge Returns

Top 10 Fast Food Franchises to Buy

10 Best Places to Visit in Canada

Best Summer Jobs for Teachers

10 Youngest Hedge Fund Billionaires

Top 10 One Hit Wonders of the 90s

Fastest Growing Cities In America

Top 10 U.S. Cities for Freelancers

Top 9 Most Popular Free iPhone Apps

Top 10 Least Expensive Private Business Schools in the US

Top 15 Most Expensive Countries in the World – 2014

Top 6 Tax Scams and How to Protect Yourself

Top Businesses to Invest In

Top 5 Things You Might Be Doing Wrong With Your Business

Top 5 Strategic Technology Trends in 2014

Top Rags to Riches Stories

Parenting Behavior That Promotes Future Leaders

Top 5 Mistakes Made by Small Businesses

Top 5 Most Common and Potentially Devastating Financial Blunders

Top 5 Highest Paying Jobs for Web Designers

Top 6 Most Respected Professions that Also Pay Well

Top 5 Pitfalls Investors Should Avoid

Top 6 Lawyers and Policy Makers Under 30

Top 6 New Year’s Resolutions for Entrepreneurs

Top 7 Locations to Check in on Facebook

Top 5 Mistakes made by Rookie eBay Sellers

Top 7 eBook Publishers in 2013

Top 6 Health Industry Trends in 2014

5 Lessons for Entrepreneurs from Seth Godin

Top 5 Success Tips from Jordan Belfort – the Wolf of Wall Street

Best Master’s in Finance Degree Programs

Top 6 Earning Celebrities Over 50

The most expensive sports to play

Top 7 Earning Celebrities Under 25

Best 7 Online Courses to Take: Free Finance MOOCs

Top 6 Bad Habits that Promote Failure

20 Most Valuable Soccer Teams in the World in 2013

12 Most Expensive Countries for Foreign Students

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!