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The Quick Take

  • Genocea Biosciences entered into a research and development collaboration and option agreement with Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Biotech.
  • The collaboration is encouraging as it provides welcome R&D resources and highlights the value and strategic capabilities of Genocea's ATLAS vaccine development platform.
  • The company's GEN-011 TiTAN clinical trial evaluating neoantigen cell therapy for solid tumors is proceeding well with initial data expected during H1/22.
  • Long-term data from the firm's ongoing Phase 1/2a study of GEN-009 neoantigen vaccine demonstrates sustained clinical responses.
  • H.C. Wainwright & Co. rates Genocea Biosciences a "Buy" with a $9.00 price target.

In a Jan. 4 research update, H.C. Wainwright & Co. Equity Research Analysts Joseph Pantginis, Ph.D., and Emanuela Branchetti, Ph.D., commented that clinical-stage immunotherapy company Genocea Biosciences Inc. (GNCA:NASDAQ) has entered into a research and development collaboration and option agreement with Jansen Biotech, a large subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ:NYSE).

The partnering agreement with Jansen reinforces the potential of Genocea's ATLAS vaccine therapies development platform. The report indicated that the collaborative efforts with Jansen will be centered upon evaluating the immunogenicity of neoantigens and investigating the role of Inhibigens in cancer vaccine therapies.

Under the terms of the agreement between the two firms, "Genocea intends to use its clinically validated ATLAS platform to characterize Janssen-identified antigens and develop methods that could mitigate the impact of Inhibigens."

In return for the access to its ATLAS platform, Genocea will receive a technology access fees and full R&D funding for all work undertaken during the joint project.

H.C. Wainwright advised that as stipulated in the agreement, Janssen has agreed to pay Genocea an upfront fee of $1.7 million for research pertaining to an identified tumor type with Genocea being eligible to receive up to an additional $3.3 million in R&D funding.

The analysts pointed out that the agreements contain an option clause which allows Janssen to negotiate future strategic development opportunities for certain vaccine products relative to two tumor types utilizing Genocea's expertise on Inhibigens and its ATLAS platform.

The report stated that Genocea has disclosed samples from 19 patients who have competed screening with the ATLAS platform. So far 10 of the 16 samples which have entered the manufacturing stage have yielded a released drug product with the remaining six still in process.

The samples are now being utilized in the company's Phase 1/2a TiTAN clinical study of GEN-011 in several tumor indications that is focused on patients who were unsuccessful after prior CKI therapies. The study is designed to measure safety, clinical activity and T cell proliferation and persistence following GEN-011 treatment.

H.C. Wainwright wrote that "GEN-011 remains an intriguing asset, with significant value-generating potential."

Genocea recently presented data at the most recent ASCO from its Phase 1/2a study testing GEN-009 in patients with a variety of cancers. The recorded long-term GEN-009 was shown to result in sustained clinical responses.

H.C. Wainwright & Co. stated, "it believes the expanded immunogenicity data (ex-vivo) once again provide important validation of the ATLAS platform as well as GEN-009's MoA."

The analysts advised that they arrived at their valuation for Genocea by modeling the clinical net present value (NPV) of GEN-009, the company's lead asset. According to the analysts, this financial modeling technique offers the ability to use multiple and flexible assumptions regarding a drug's potential commercial profile.

H.C. Wainwright & Co. stated that it is maintaining its "Buy" rating on Genocea Biosciences Inc. with a price target of $9.00/share. Genocea's shares trade on the Nasdaq Exchange under the symbol "GNCA" and last closed for trading at $1.05 on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022.


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Disclosures for H.C. Wainwright & Co. LLC., Genocea Biosciences Inc., Jan. 4, 2022

This material is confidential and intended for use by Institutional Accounts as defined in FINRA Rule 4512(c). It may also be privileged or otherwise protected by work product immunity or other legal rules.
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.
H.C. Wainwright & Co, LLC (the “Firm”) is a member of FINRA and SIPC and a registered U.S. Broker-Dealer.
I, Joseph Pantginis, Ph.D. and Emanuela Branchetti, 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 Genocea Biosciences, Inc. (including, without limitation, any option, right, warrant, future, long or short position). As of December 31, 2021 neither the Firm nor its affiliates beneficially own 1% or more of any class of common equity securities of Genocea Biosciences, Inc. Neither the research analyst nor the Firm knows or has reason to know of any other material conflict of interest 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 received compensation from Genocea Biosciences, Inc. for non-investment banking services in the previous 12 months. The Firm or its affiliates did receive compensation from Genocea Biosciences, Inc. for investment banking services within twelve months before, and will seek compensation from the companies mentioned in this report for investment banking services within three months following publication of the research report. H.C. Wainwright & Co., LLC managed or co-managed a public offering of securities for Genocea Biosciences, Inc. during the past 12 months. The Firm does not make a market in Genocea Biosciences, Inc. as of the date of this research report. The securities of the company discussed in this report may be unsuitable for investors depending on their specific investment objectives and financial position. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. This report is offered for informational purposes only, and does not constitute an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities discussed herein in any jurisdiction where such would be prohibited. This research report is not intended to provide tax advice or to be used to provide tax advice to any person. Electronic versions of H.C. Wainwright & Co., LLC research reports are made available to all clients simultaneously. No part of this report may be reproduced in any form without the expressed permission of H.C. Wainwright & Co., LLC. Additional information available upon request.
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