In a July 22 research note, ROTH Capital Partners analyst Tony Butler reported that "encouraging data" from Marker Therapeutics Inc.'s (MRKR:NASDAQ) Phase I trial, TACTOPS, "could provide an upside to our current price target."
The immuno-oncology company presented these findings surrounding the clinical evaluation of MultiTAA T-cells in pancreatic cancer on July 20 and hosted a follow-up conference call on July 22 to review them.
The promising early outcome is the "chemo-combo cohort (arm A) seemingly outperformed, although it remains too early to call as several patients have been treated for less than 11 months," Butler highlighted.
The analyst reviewed the patient makeup and reported results of all three trial arms.
Arm A was compossed of patients who responded to first-line treatment after diagnosis. In Marker's trial, they were given chemotherapy, either Folfirinox or a combination of gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel, alternating with MultiTAA T-cells.
Results were that of the nine patients, five (56%) experienced clinical benefit, and two (33%) achieved an overall response as best tumor response. One patient who received Folfirinox had an ongoing complete response at month 11. Two patients receiving administered the gemcitabine combination had ongoing partial responses at months six and 11. "Considering that median overall survival for patients receiving Folfirinox and gemcitabine plus nab-paclitaxel are 11.5 months and 8.5 months, respectively, these ongoing responses are encouraging," Butler indicated.
Arm B were patients who could not tolerate or were refractory to first-line chemotherapy. They were given MultiTAA T-cells as a monotherapy. One of six (17%) patients with metastasized disease achieved stable disease that lasted for up to seven months.
Arm C enrolled patients with resectable disease who got one preoperative infusion and will receive five additional doses following surgery as adjuvant therapy. Two of three patients (67%) achieved stable disease that lasted for an average of 5.5 months.
About the Phase 1 study results, Butler concluded, "Overall, we find the early evidence of efficacy of tumor shrinkage measured using independent assessments encouraging." He relayed that Marker's management team noted the possibility of conducting a subsequent study similar to arm A in which patients are administered MultiTAA concurrently with chemotherapy.
ROTH has a Buy rating and a $10 per share target price on Marker Therapeutics, whose stock is trading at around $5.50 per share.[NLINSERT]
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Disclosures from ROTH Capital Partners, Market Therapeutics, Inc., Flash Note, July 22, 2019
Regulation Analyst Certification ("Reg AC"): The research analyst primarily responsible for the content of this report certifies the following under Reg AC: I hereby certify that all views expressed in this report accurately reflect my personal views about the subject company or companies and its or their securities. I also certify that no part of my compensation was, is or will be, directly or indirectly, related to the specific recommendations or views expressed in this report.
ROTH makes a market in shares of Marker Therapeutics, Inc. and as such, buys and sells from customers on a principal basis.
ROTH Capital Partners, LLC expects to receive or intends to seek compensation for investment banking or other business relationships with the covered companies mentioned in this report in the next three months.