In a June 22 research note, H.C. Wainwright & Co. analyst Joseph Pantginis reported that Targovax ASA's (TRVX:OSE) ONCOS-102, in trial results, showed efficacy and immunogenicity in malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) patients at 12 months post treatment.
ONCOS-102, Targovax's lead candidate, is an oncolytic adenovirus containing an immune-stimulating transgene. It recently was assessed in the randomized Phase 1/2 trial in combination with standard of care chemotherapy in 31 patients with MPM. In the study, the 20 members of the experimental group received both treatments whereas the 11 in the control group were treated only with standard of care chemotherapy.
Pantginis reviewed the study findings at 12 months and commented, "Given the potent immunogenicity, the data provide a strong rationale for the use of ONCOS-102 to enhance patients' responses to checkpoint inhibitor regimens and ameliorate outcomes."
Specifically, the data show that ONCOS-102-treated patients experienced clinical benefits that those in the control group did not experience or experienced to a lesser extent. Those benefits included increased infiltration of cytotoxic T cells in the tumor, upregulation in the expression of genes associated with adaptive immunity and cytotoxicity, polarization of macrophages toward the M1 pro-inflammatory anti-tumor phenotype and increased PD-L1 expression.
The trial results, Pantginis wrote, confirmed the previously reported 8.9 months of median progression-free survival, which compares to 7.6 months among the control group and 5.7–7.3 months historically for standard of care.
The survival rate among the patients who received the treatment combination was encouraging, at 64%, versus 50% among the control group patients, Pantginis noted.
The study findings also confirmed ONCOS-102's mechanism of action, which is "enhancing immune responses and modulating the tumor microenvironment and its consequent correlation with positive outcomes," relayed Pantginis. This suggests that "ONCOS-102 in combination with chemotherapy achieves responses with an extent similar to those obtained with CKI."
As such, Norway-based Targovax next plans to conduct one or more triple combination studies, testing ONCOS-102 plus standard of care chemotherapy plus a checkpoint inhibitor, in firstline MPM patients.
Pantginis concluded that all of the positive mesothelioma data Targovax has accumulated to date "provide strong rationale for moving mesothelioma forward as first path to market."
H.C. Wainwright & Co. has a Buy rating and an NOK19 per share price target on Targovax, the stock of which is currently trading at about NOK7.32 per share.[NLINSERT]
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Disclosures from H. C. Wainwright, Targovax ASA, Company Update, June 22, 2020
Investment Banking Services include, but are not limited to, acting as a manager/co-manager in the underwriting or placement of securities, acting as financial advisor, and/or providing corporate finance or capital markets-related services to a company or one of its affiliates or subsidiaries within the past 12 months.
I, Joseph Pantginis, Ph.D., certify that 1) all of the views expressed in this report accurately reflect my personal views about any and all subject securities or issuers discussed; and 2) no part of my compensation was, is, or will be directly or indirectly related to the specific recommendation or views expressed in this research report; and 3) neither myself nor any members of my household is an officer, director or advisory board member of these companies.
None of the research analysts or the research analyst's household has a financial interest in the securities of Targovax ASA (including, without limitation, any option, right, warrant, future, long or short position).
As of May 31, 2020 neither the Firm nor its affiliates beneficially own 1% or more of any class of common equity securities of Targovax ASA.
Neither the research analyst nor the Firm has any material conflict of interest in of which the research analyst knows or has reason to know at the time of publication of this research report.
The research analyst principally responsible for preparation of the report does not receive compensation that is based upon any specific investment banking services or transaction but is compensated based on factors including total revenue and profitability of the Firm, a substantial portion of which is derived from investment banking services.
The Firm or its affiliates did not receive compensation from Targovax ASA for investment banking services within twelve months before, but will seek compensation from the companies mentioned in this report for investment banking services within three months following publication of the research report.
The Firm does not make a market in Targovax ASA as of the date of this research report.
H.C. Wainwright & Co., LLC and its affiliates, officers, directors, and employees, excluding its analysts, will from time to time have long or short positions in, act as principal in, and buy or sell, the securities or derivatives (including options and warrants) thereof of covered companies referred to in this research report.