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New Treatment for Ovarian Cancer Shows Promise
Research Report

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Additional trial data also show efficacy of this investigative combination treatment in a difficult to treat patient population, noted an H.C. Wainwright & Co. report.

Agenus Inc.'s (AGEN:NASDAQ) pipeline drugs botensilimab and balstilimab, as a combination treatment, continue to show responses in patients with platinum-resistant or -refractory ovarian cancer, reported H.C. Wainwright & Co. analyst Emily Bodnar in a March 27 research note.

This was the takeaway from Agenus' presentation of new trial data at the recent Society of Gynecologic Oncology meeting.

Compelling Possible Gains

Massachusetts-based Agenus is currently trading at about US$1.49 per share, and H.C. Wainwright's target price on it is much higher, at US$8 per share, Bodnar noted.

This price difference implies a significant potential return of about 437%. The pharma is a Buy.

Positive Efficacy Data

The study data Agenus just presented were for 24 evaluable patients in its Phase 1b expansion trial. Most, or 71%, of these patients, received 2 milligrams per kilogram (2 mg/kg) of botensilimab Q6W, Bodnar explained. The other 29% got 1 mg/kg botensilimab Q6W in combination with 3 mg/kg balstilimab Q2W.

The overall response rate was 33% and included one complete response and seven partial responses. The overall disease control rate was 67%.

"Approximately eight patients were on treatment for at least six months, demonstrating positive durability," Bodnar added.

The analyst pointed out that when Agenus reported data from the Phase 1 last year, the overall response rate was 26% in 19 patients. This means five additional patients got treated, and two of them experienced a partial response.  

"[The] response rate increasing with additional patients treated is a highly positive indication of efficacy," wrote Bodnar.

Comparison to Standard of Care

Given the efficacy data, Bodnar highlighted, botensilimab + balstilimab combination treatment is "potentially favorable" over the standard of care in platinum-resistant and -refractory ovarian cancer patients, which is chemotherapy.

Historical studies of single-agent chemotherapy in these patients, she went on, showed about a 20% overall response rate. Combination chemotherapy regimens demonstrated overall response rates up to 53%; however, the trials included much fewer heavily pretreated patients and included platinum-sensitive patients who are easier to treat.

Based on a comparison of these data sets, "botensilimab + balstilimab appears superior to single-agent chemotherapy," concluded Bodnar.

Consistent Safety Profile

In its presentation, Agenus noted the safety profile of botensilimab + balstilimab in the expansion cohort was in line with its previously reported data, reported Bodnar.

The new results showed the most common treatment-related adverse event was immune-mediated diarrhea/colitis, occurring in 46% of patients. The worst cases of this were grade three. Other adverse events patients experienced were nausea, vomiting, fatigue, rash, itchiness, increased body temperature, and joint pain.

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1) Doresa Banning wrote this article for Streetwise Reports LLC and provides services to Streetwise Reports as an independent contractor. She or members of her household own securities of the following companies mentioned in the article: None. She or members of her household are paid by the following companies mentioned in this article: None.

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Disclosures for H.C. Wainwright & Co., Agenus Inc., March 27, 2023

H.C. Wainwright & Co, LLC (the “Firm”) is a member of FINRA and SIPC and a registered U.S. Broker-Dealer.

I, Emily Bodnar , 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 Agenus Inc. (including, without limitation, any option, right, warrant, future, long or short position). As of February 28, 2023 neither the Firm nor its affiliates beneficially own 1% or more of any class of common equity securities of Agenus 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 did not receive compensation from Agenus Inc. 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 Agenus 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.

H.C. Wainwright & Co., LLC does not provide individually tailored investment advice in research reports. This research report is not intended to provide personal investment advice and it does not take into account the specific investment objectives, financial situation and the particular needs of any specific person. Investors should seek financial advice regarding the appropriateness of investing in financial instruments and implementing investment strategies discussed or recommended in this research report.

H.C. Wainwright & Co., LLC’s and its affiliates’ salespeople, traders, and other professionals may provide oral or written market commentary or trading strategies that reflect opinions that are contrary to the opinions expressed in 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.

The information contained herein is based on sources which we believe to be reliable but is not guaranteed by us as being accurate and does not purport to be a complete statement or summary of the available data on the company, industry or security discussed in the report. All opinions and estimates included in this report constitute the analyst’s judgment as of the date of this report and are subject to change without notice.

Securities and other financial instruments discussed in this research report: may lose value; are not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; and are subject to investment risks, including possible loss of the principal amount invested. 

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